State Gaming board turns down a competitor's request for information about the proposed Nittany Mall casino developer
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted Wednesday to deny the petition for legal discovery from Stadium Casino RE LLC, which was seeking access to financial ownership information about SC Gaming Op Co LLC, the company that wants to open a casino in the Nittany Mall, in Centre County.
In 2020, Stadium Casino lost the bid to apply for a mini-casino license to SC Gaming. Now, Stadium Casino is arguing that SC Gaming is not the same company it was originally. Stadium has already filed a legal challenge in Commonwealth Court.
On Wednesday in a hearing before the state Gaming Control Board, Stadium’s attorney Mark Aronchick pointed to the state's statute about who is allowed to bid on mini-casino licenses: “No cannibalization of the existing market. No new outside, unlicensed operators were allowed to come in to bid.”
He said developer Ira Lubert, who got the winning bid, has several other investors and argued that Stadium should get to see SC Gaming’s funding sources.
“There are people, clearly, who have interests that need to be looked at carefully as ownership interests," Aronchick said. "Because if they are ownership interests, they weren’t allowed to bid, and they shouldn’t be in this project, and this application shouldn’t be considered.”
SC Gaming’s attorney Stephen Kastenberg said it is the board's obligation to decide whether SC Gaming is eligible.
"This is not some unique situation where there is some special role that Stadium should be playing," he said. “They are simply a sour grapes competitor, raising the kind of issues that the board has seen time and again."
The board has not yet scheduled the final hearing and vote on the proposed Nittany Mall casino, which has faced public opposition.
The board did grant Stadium intervenor status. According to a board spokesman, that means Stadium Casino will be heard on the issue of whether the board has the authority under the Gaming Act to consider the SC Gaming application, given what Stadium believes are fatal flaws in the application.
Stadium will be given 15 minutes to speak during the hearing.