Pennsylvania Mini-Casino Auction Draws Zero Applicants

Pennsylvania Mini-Casino Auction Draws Zero Applicants
By Kelsey McCarson

It only took a minute to determine that none of Pennsylvania’s 13 casinos were interested in investing any more money into Category 4 casinos, also known as satellite gambling outlets or mini-casinos, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Patrol Board reportedly generated $127.7 million for the sale of five mini-casino licenses last year. That revenue was aimed toward balancing the state’s budget, and with up to five more mini-casinos up for grabs, Pennsylvania officials wanted to see if there was interest for any more.

But the auction closed almost as soon as it opened with no bids placed.

No Pennsylvania Mini-Casinos Open Yet

Mini-casinos are satellite gambling venues that can offer up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games. State-run auctions were held last year, with five casino licenses going to the winning bidders: Hollywood Casino York, Live! Casino, Mount Airy Pittsburgh, Parx Casino and Hollywood Casino Morgantown.

Those five are each in different stages of planning and building. When all five are up and running, the five mini-casinos will be located in Berks, Cumberland, Beaver, Westmoreland and York counties.

But of the five licenses purchased by operators, only two have been approved by regulators to date and none of the potential five mini-casinos have opened yet. According to reports, operators expect to have the currently scheduled batch of mini-casino up and running by late 2020.

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Why Pennsylvania’s Mini-Casinos Auction Happened

The state’s gambling expansion permits the awarding of 10 total mini-casino licenses across the state. The first sale of the original five raised about $127 million in license fees, surpassing the expected total from selling all 10, according to the Allentown Morning Call. It seems Pennsylvania state officials were keen on seeing just how much more revenue could be generated from selling more licenses.

Bids for the second auction were scheduled to start at $7.5 million on Wednesday, but since no bids were placed, the Quaker State won’t offer any more licenses offered, at least until operators and potential investors have the chance to see what kinds of returns they can expect for their heavy investments.

“The idea was sort of that it was worth it to see if there was a renewed interest,” said Mike Straub said, a spokesman for the House Republican Caucus, according to PA Post. “…If they don’t sell this time, this book will close.”

It only took 60 seconds for officials to see the book was closed on Pennsylivania mini-casinos, at least for the time being.

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Kelsey McCarson, a veteran sports journalist who also covers boxing and MMA, writes about gambling and online casino news for

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