MERCER, Pa. (WYTV) – Economic development officials in Mercer County are confident they will get one of the new casino licenses in Pennsylvania. They say they have the perfect spot for a casino — near the Grove City Premium Outlets.
The first license was auctioned on Wednesday but there are nine remaining.
Cory Kelly owns TimberCreek Tap & Table, not far from the outlets. Inside the restaurant, you can watch them brew beer through a glass floor.
One potential location for a casino is a vacant lot across from TimberCreek.
“I think it would be good for the area. Anything that drives that amount of traffic to the area, I think is good for all businesses,” Kelly said.
Wednesday morning, Penn National was the highest bidder for the first of Pennsylvania’s ten new casino licenses. It’ll go in York County, south of Harrisburg. The bid was $50 million.
“I was stunned. I did not expect it to be that high,” said Peggy Mazyck, who runs the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
She, along with Penn-Northwest Development’s Randy Seitz, have been working to bring a casino to Mercer County, with the preferred location being near the Grove City Outlets. There are already shops, hotels, restaurants and freeway access.
“We felt that a casino would be an enhancement, a strong enhancement, to the activities and attractions that we already have there,” Mazyck said.
“We had a visit from one and the tourist promotion agency has been very proactive in reaching out to several of them to let them know that as a county, this is something that we would love to see happen here,” Seitz said.
Back at TimberCreek, Kelly has a “believe-it-when-he-sees-it attitude” about a possible casino. Whether he’ll benefit depends on the casino itself.
“How much investment they make into food and beverage internally…enticing people to stay there and eat as opposed to letting their customers spread out,” he said.
Another Mercer County option for a casino is somewhere through the Shenango Valley. Hermitage and Sharon haven’t said “no” to a casino.
There will be nine more auctions every other Wednesday through May 16.