No Bids Submitted for Fifth PA Mini-Casino

After snow delayed the auction for Pennsylvania’s fifth satellite casino two days, the rescheduled auction on Friday, March 9 drew no bidders for another mini-casino. If no further bids are received during subsequent auctions, a second round of bidding for non-Pennsylvania gaming companies will be conducted.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held the auction for the fifth or 10 available mini-casino licenses on Friday, March 9, after the auction was postponed two days by bad weather.

No bids were received for the license.

This was even as the price for securing rights to open one of the facilities was soaring downward, from the fee Penn National paid for the first satellite casino, $50.1 million, to the $8.1 million Greenwood Gaming paid for the fourth facility. No bids were submitted for license No. 5 even at the minimum bid of $7.5 million.

That included a lack of interest by Las Vegas Sands, whose $9.8 million bid for a mini-casino near the Ohio border was invalidated because the location chosen was within the buffer zone of Mount Airy Resort’s planned facility.

LVS, which is preparing to sell its Sands Bethlehem property to Alabama’s Poarch Ban of Creek Indians, elected not to pursue even a minimum bid for a mini-casino in another location.

Mini-casino licenses authorize a casino with a maximum 750 slots for at least $7.5 million, plus up to 30 table games for an additional $2.5 million fee.

Pennsylvania’s gaming expansion law authorized up to 10 mini-casinos for Pennsylvania, with first dibs reserved for operators of the state’s 10 full-fledged casinos. Biweekly auctions will be held for current casino licensees through May 16 for the remaining six available licenses. If the licenses do not go, a second round of auctions will begin May 21 with bids open to the two smaller Category 3 resort casinos, Valley Forge Casino Lady Luck Casino.

The second round also will permit operators who have secured mini-casino licenses to bid on additional licenses.

The first four mini-casino auctions have yielded the state a total of $118 million in license fees: Penn paid $50.1 million for its license to build in York County, Stadium Casino paid $40.1 million to build in Westmoreland County, Mount Airy paid $21.2 million to build in New Castle, Lawrence County, and Greenwood paid $8.1 million for its license for a mini-casino in Cumberland County.

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