Pennsylvania’s fifth casino license auctioned off

The fifth mini-casino license in Pennsylvania was awarded to the operator of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Wednesday.

The $7,500,003 bid by the subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Inc. was enough to secure a site for placement of a Category 4/mini-casino in a 15-mile radius area with a center point in West Cocalico, Lancaster County. It was the second winning bid for Hollywood Casino, having won the right to build a casino near the Borough of Yoe in York County, with a $50,100,000 million bid in January at the first auction.

Penn National said, “We draw a lot of business to Hollywood Casino from the Reading and Lancaster areas, and this location will allow us to better protect our market while allowing us to penetrate further into the more populous areas in the western Philadelphia environs,” according to PR Newswire.

In addition to being the sixth auction, it was also the first one where previous winners could bid for a second time. A minimum bid of $7.5 million is required from casino owners, who must also specify coordinates to include the county and municipality to participate in the bidding process. The selected Category 4 location serves as the center point from which the 15-mile radius is calculated and from where the mini-casino must be located. Additionally, the chosen location must not be located within a municipality that has opted out to serve as a host community.

A Jan. 10 auction net Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC (Hollywood Casino) the first Pennsylvania-area satellite property for Yoe, PA in York County, with a winning bid of $50,100,000.

Stadium Casinos LLC (Philly Live! Casino) bid $40,100,005 on Jan. 21 in the second auction securing the satellite location of Derry, PA in Westmoreland County.

The third auction was won by Mount Airy #1 LLC (Mount Airy Casino Resort) on Feb 8 with a bid of $21,888,888.88 for the satellite location of New Castle, PA in Lawrence County.

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On Feb. 21 a winning bid of $9,885,000 was submitted by Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC, however, due to the location chosen by Sands whose radius where the company could build overlapped with Mount Airy’s site, the bid was voided by PGCB. The next day, Parx Casino’s $8,111,000 bid won it the satellite location of South Newton, PA in Cumberland County.

After an extended break because of bad weather, this month the subsequent round of auctions were underway, however, they only generated one bidder. West Cocalico Township, PA is the second satellite property secured by Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, LLC.

The bid amounts for licenses have decreased substantially, the recent $7.5 million bid by Penn National a far cry from the $50.1 million it doled out to win the Jan. 10 mini-casino auction.

There are five auctions remaining, courtesy of Governor Tom Wolf’s October approval of a far-reaching revenue package that included expanded gambling in the state, including the creation of 10 satellite casinos. The five winning bids have surpa 7BALL ssed the state’s estimate of $100 million in the event that all 10 Category 4 licenses were sold at the required minimum of $7.5 million (slots) and  $2.5 million (table games), with the bids totaling $127 million to date.

The next scheduled casino license auction is on April 18 at 10am.