The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has chosen the 2nd bidder from this past week’s Category 4 license auction as winner.
Yesterday, it was made known that the Sands Bethlehem parenting company was the winning bidder during this weeks’ Category 4 licensing auction. The Sands had bid $9.9 million and won the auction to only hours later have their bid revoked due to an issue with the location of their proposed venue. The Sands had proposed their satellite casino to be located too close to the area in which Mount Airy #1 LLC would be placing their satellite casino. Mount Airy won the 3rd license made available earlier this month, so the Sands location problem ended up costing them the win.
Second Bidder Wins
The Sands bid was invalidated due to the location issue and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board would then focus their attention to the second bidder from this week, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment. This company operates the Parx Casino and bid $8.1 million to earn the Category 4 licensing.
The company was approved for the 4th gaming license and would place their smaller venue on land located in South Central Pennsylvania between Carlisle and Chambersburg. The bid allows the gaming operator to place their new mini casino at a site that has a 15 mile radius from South Newton Township. The company now has to pay the full bid price within two business days to remain the license holder.
Once payment is made, Greenwood will then need to submit an application for a slot machine license within six months. This application must include the specific location of the property as well as plans for development. The area in which the bid stated for construction includes several municipalities that gave approval to be a satellite casino host city, including boroughs of Shippensburg and Carlisle.
Satellite casinos are to be much smaller than the traditional gaming venues found in the state. Operators who obtain licensing will be able to add 300 to 750 slot games to such facilities and pay an additional $2.5 million to add table games, which can consist of as many as 30 tables.
The Process Continues
Now that this week’s auction has been sorted out, the process will continue in March. The next auction will take place on March 7th and another one will be scheduled later on the in the month. Two more auctions will take place in April and May, to round out the 10 licensing opportunities. Existing operators in the state had first crack at obtaining a satellite casino license and once that process is complete, if any licenses remain, outside entities will be considered.
The state approved the construction of satellite casinos in a gaming reform package signed into law last October by Governor Tom Wolf. The goal was to expand gaming in order to bring in more revenues to the state. So far, the state has been provided over $115 million from just the licensing process. This is much more than was initially anticipated and mainly came from the first two auctions, of which $50.1 million and $40.1 million was provided.
With four auctions still to come, the state has the potential to earn even more in the initial stages of satellite casino gaming. The state will also earn more via taxes once the new gaming venues start offering gambling services.
It will be interesting to see who applies during the next few auctions and how much money is bid in order to obtain licensing.