Pennsylvania is going all-in on the gambling industry. Not long ago, the state handed out five licenses for new small casinos. This week, news is coming out that an additional five mini casinos in Pennsylvania are being planned to open, as well.
A budget-related bill includes plans to increase gambling revenue in the state. Hope is that mini casinos help Pennsylvania accomplish this goal. Let’s look at the plans for these small gambling establishments.
Pennsylvania Investing Heavily Into Casino Industry
The state of Pennsylvania has always been one of the top casino gambling destinations on the East Coast. In 2017, Governor Tom Wolf signed a new bill into legislation that allows for online casino gambling in Pennsylvania, sports betting, airport gaming lounges, and daily fantasy sports. Part of this bill also allows for new, small casino gambling venues to open in five different cities.
Lawmakers here were quick to get sports betting up and running. After PASPA was struck down in May of 2018, this state was quick to open sports betting operations inside a number of different casinos. Today, online sports betting is fully available throughout the state, as well.
Gaming companies paid $127.7 for five new casino licenses here. The next major casino is scheduled to open early next year. Interestingly, this state is also pushing hard to open even more of what are being called “mini casinos.”
Mini casinos in Pennsylvania are expected to bring in some much-needed revenue. This state’s Gaming Control Board is now pushing for an auction process for these satellite casinos. Let’s look at how these gambling establishments will benefit the state.
Lawmakers Ready for New Mini Casinos in Pennsylvania
The state’s Gaming Board approved a motion directing Executive Director Kevin F. O’Toole to begin the bidding process for these new mini casinos. The venues, also called Category 4 casinos, can only be operated by one of the state’s 13 major casinos. They can hold up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games.
The Gaming Board requires Pennsylvania to conduct five rounds of bidding for these licenses. This bidding process must begin by September 4th. It must conclude by December 31st. If none of the casino operators here bid for a license, the auctioning process will conclude.
It’s still not clear exactly how successful these casinos will be. The first satellite casino was approved here last month. Whether or not there is customer demand for these additional gambling venues is unknown.
Many are also wondering if the state’s casinos will bid to construct these mini casinos in Pennsylvania. Last year, these casinos paid millions in licensing fees. The risk of paying millions for another small gambling venue may not be worth it to these companies.
Where Are These New Gaming Venues Opening?
The state has already approved five mini casinos to open. Penn National, one of the top casino operators in the state, has won bids to open two of these satellite casinos. One will be constructed in Morgantown. The other is scheduled to open at the York Galleria Mall.
Stadium Casino LLC is scheduled to build a mini casino at the Westmoreland Mall outside of Pittsburgh. Mount Airy Casino Resort is also opening one of these casinos north of Pittsburgh. Finally, Parx Casino is scheduled to open a new gaming venue in Shippensburg.
Of course, the bidding process for the next five mini casinos in Pennsylvania won’t take place for months. Until it does, it’s anyone’s guess which cities they will end up in.
The new set of gambling laws here state that these satellite casinos cannot be built within 40 miles of an existing casino. The cities of Wayne, Pike, and Carbon counties have all voted to ban casinos.
Make sure to stay tuned for more news on where these new mini casinos will end up. As soon as the auctioning process begins, we’ll let you know about it.