On Wednesday, July 10, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) voted in favor of a plan to recommence the Category 4 satellite casino auction process. As such, the state will try again to award gaming licenses for five more satellite casinos as part of the ongoing aggressive gambling expansion that kicked off in October 2017. The first five satellite casino licenses were auctioned last year and the state raised a whopping $127 million. However, the auction came to an end when the state’s gaming control board received no bids for the sixth license.
Beginning 10 a.m. on September 4, 2019, the gaming control board will begin accepting bids prior to its regularly scheduled meeting. As it was before, the minimum bid for the satellite casino license will remain $7.5 million for the gaming facilities which will be able to host up 750 slot machines. Also, the auctions will be limited to the owners of the state’s 12 operational land-based casinos as well as a 13th one that is still under construction in Philadelphia. The gaming companies that will win the casino licenses will be required to pay extra a $2.5 million fee if they want approval to incorporate as many as 30 tables games within the first year of the venue’s operation.
“The first auction in this round is scheduled for September 4, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. just prior to the start of its regularly scheduled Board meeting. The auction will be held in the PGCB’s Public Hearing Room located on the second floor of Strawberry Square in Harrisburg. All current holders of a Category 1, 2 or 3 casino licenses in Pennsylvania are eligible to participate in this auction,” reads a section of the announcement.
The gaming control board will also be streaming the auctions live through its website and the winning bidders will be required to pay the winning bid amount no later than 4 p.m. on the second business day after the auction date. After that, they will have up to six months to submit their applications for the Category 4 slot machine licenses which will include an exact location of the proposed mini-casino.
Boosting Revenue in the State
Satellite casinos in the Keystone State are required to bring in even more revenue and this is precisely the reason why the gaming control board is pushing for an auction. In fact, Pennsylvania has been pursuing a number of gambling expansion initiatives that will further complement the satellite casinos. These include sports betting as well as online and mobile gambling – the former went live in the state late last year while online casinos are set to go live on July 15.