One of two “resort” casino licenses allowing up to 600 slot machines and 50 table games

Four applicants - Penn Harris Gaming, Mason-Dixon Resorts, Woodlands Fayette and Bushkill Group - have applied for Pennsylvania’s last casino license.

Hearings on the applications for one of two “resort” casino licenses allowed up to 600 slot machines and 50 table games each are set to begin August 30. The state’s Gaming Control Board “hopes to be in a position to make a decision … by the end of year,” said a spokesman.

Penn Harris is proposing a 40,000-square-foot casino with restaurants, a bar, a spa and a fitness center at the Holiday Inn West on Route 11 in Mechanicsburg, near the state capital of Harrisburg.

Mason-Dixon proposes a $75 million casino managed by Penn National Gaming near historic Gettysburg.

Publicly traded Penn National of Wyomissing, Pa., already owns Hollywood Casino outside Harrisburg and will soon open a slots parlor in Maryland.

Penn National also has signed on to finance and operate the $39 million casino proposed by the Bushkill Group, which would be located at the 440-acre Fernwood Hotel & Resort in the Poconos. Fernwood attracts an average of 425,000 annual visitors, according to Bushkill, with more than 80 percent of them coming from outside Pennsylvania.

This is Bushkill’s second try for a Pennsylvania license.

Woodlands Fayette has applied for licensing for Nemacolin Woodlands Resort about 70 miles from Pittsburgh. The casino would be managed by publicly traded Isle of Capri Casinos of St. Louis. Nemacolin sits on nearly 2,000 acres and features 335 rooms, suites, townhouses and other luxury residences.

In April 2009, a group led by real estate magnate Ira Lubert was awarded the first of the two resort casino licenses for the Valley Forge Convention Center outside Philadelphia. But the license is being contested by Parx Casino, a racino also outside Philadelphia, which argues that the casino would hurt Parx’s business because of its proximity. The case is pending before the state Supreme Court.