Pennsylvania Satellite Casino Auction Planned for September, as State Wants Even More Gaming

Posted on: July 10, 2019, 11:48h. 

Last updated on: July 11, 2019, 01:05h.

Another Pennsylvania satellite casino auction has been announced by state gaming regulators.

satellite casino Pennsylvania gaming
State gaming regulators in Pennsylvania plan to auction off another satellite casino license. (Image: PGCB)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) voted in favor Wednesday of recommencing the Category 4 satellite casino auction process. Bids will be accepted on Sept. 4 at 10 am ET prior to the agency’s regularly scheduled meeting.

The minimum bid remains $7.5 million for the facilities that are permitted to house up to 750 slot machines. Winning companies must pay an additional $2.5 million fee following approval to incorporate as many as 30 table games in the venue’s first year in operation.

Five successful auctions were held between January through April 2018. Bids are sealed, and only the winning high offer is publicly disclosed.

Qualified Applicants

The Category 4 mini-casino auction process was initially open only to the state’s 10 operators of Category 1 or 2 land-based casinos.

The Category 3 resort casinos – Lady Luck and Valley Forge, which have since both paid the state $1 million to remove the resort access fee – were able to bid on a Category 4 property after the others opted not to make further proposals. Earlier winners were also invited back to try and grab another mini-casino. Penn National did just that.

Satellite Winner – Location – Bid Price

1. Penn National Gaming, York County $50.1 million

2. Stadium Casino, LLC, Hempfield Township $40.1 million

3. Mount Airy Casino Resort, Beaver County $21.18 million

4. Parx Casino, Shippensburg Township 8.11 million

5. Penn National Gaming, Berks County $7.5 million

After no bids were received for a second time following Penn National gaining a second Category 4 license, the PGCB said it would consider inviting outside companies for a future auction. The board said in this week’s release that procedures will be posted to the agency’s website. The board is allowed to approve as many as 10 satellites.

Gaming Expansion

The Category 4 properties came in the 2017 legislation signed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) that additionally authorized online gambling, sports betting and daily fantasy sports, airport gaming lounges, and video gaming terminals inside certain truck stops.

Internet sports betting is already up and running, and online slots and table games are set to go live July 15. Parx and Hollywood are approved for a Monday soft launch of their online casinos.

Pennsylvania’s 12 land-based casinos reported gross gaming revenue of $3.22 billion last year. That marked a new all-time high. But with inflation factored in, the $3.22 billion number actually represented the state gaming industry’s worst performance since table games were introduced in 2010.

Casinos, satellites, online, mobile, truck stops, airports – the vast expansion begs the question of whether the market can support the numerous ways someone inside Pennsylvania can test their luck.

In a note issued last year, analysts at Moody’s Investors Service said the slot market in the Keystone State is likely already oversaturated. However, the credit rating agency says there’s likely more room for new table games.

After a year in operation, the satellite casinos are permitted to add 10 more tables to their batch of 30.