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September 16, 2019

The creation of these gambling venues was approved in 2017

Pennsylvania to hold another mini-casino auction

Pennsylvania to hold another mini-casino auction
The first five auctions raised $127 million, and the first mini-casino is expected to open next year.
United States | 09/04/2019

Five category 4 casino licenses were successfully auctioned by state gaming officials, but when the board offered a sixth license, there were no bids.


he Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold an auction to award another category 4 casino license today. The so-called ‘mini-casinos’ can offer up to 750 slot machines and eventually up to 40 table games.

In July, the Board approved a motion to re-implement the auction process that ended in April of 2018 after it received no bids for a sixth license.

The first auction in this round is scheduled for today at the PGCB's Public Hearing Room. All current holders of a Category 1, 2 or 3 casino license in Pennsylvania are eligible to participate.

As reported by PA Post, House Republican Caucus spokesman Mike Straub said lawmakers want the board to offer casino operators one more chance.

“The idea was sort of that it was worth it to see if there was a renewed interest,” Straub said. “…If they don’t sell this time, this book will close.”

If no one bids at least $7.5 million Wednesday, no more licenses would be offered under the process approved in 2017, Straub said. But if the sixth license auction is successful, the board could award up to 10 mini-casino licenses total.

Much of the state is already off-limits for any new mini-casinos, as hundreds of communities took steps to forbid the mini-casinos.

Under the Gaming Expansion Act of 2017, the Gaming Control Board was authorized to award up to 10 Category 4 (satellite) slot machine operator licenses through an auction process which was conducted from January to April 2018, resulting in five successful auctions garnering $127 million in bids to secure the right to obtain a Category 4 license. The winners and their bid price are as follows:

  • Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC, which operates Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, is seeking a license to construct a satellite casino in Springettsbury Township, York County ($50,100,000);
  • Stadium Casino, LLC, which is constructing a Category 2 casino in Philadelphia, is seeking a license to construct a satellite casino in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County ($40,100,005);
  • Mount Airy #1, LLC which operates the Mount Airy Casino Resort, is seeking a license to construct a satellite casino in Big Beaver Borough, Beaver County ($21,188,888.88);
  • Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., which operates the Parx Casino, is seeking a license to construct a satellite casino in Shippensburg Township, Cumberland County ($8,111,000); and,
  • Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC was a successful bidder a second time and was awarded a Category 4 license on June 12, 2019 to construct a satellite casino in Caernarvon Township, Berks County ($7,5000,003).

The five planned mini-casinos are in different stages. The mini-casinos for Berks and Westmoreland counties are the furthest along in development, said Richard McGarvey, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

He said operators in those counties expect to have mini-casinos up and running in late 2020 — although construction schedules could change.

Pennsylvania lawmakers approved the creation of mini-casinos in 2017, as a way of balancing the state budget.

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