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PA prepares for second satellite casino license auction


The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold a  second round of auctions for the right to apply for a satellite casino licenses in September. 

There are five Category 4 licenses available, which allow operators to construct facilities housing up to 750 slot machines and 40 table games, with current Category 1, 2 and 3 casino license holders eligible to participate in the auction.

The auction process sees operators bid for the right to obtain a license, with plans to be approved by the PGCB before construction can begin. Operators must then pay a $7.5m fee for a license to operate slots, and $2.5m for a table games certificate.

The Category 4 license was created as part of the gambling expansion bill signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in October 2017, which also paved the way for the roll-out of sports betting and igaming. 

A total of ten Category 4 venues are permitted per the legislation, with five having already been awarded. Penn National Gaming (PNG) secured the right to obtain licenses to operate facilities in Springettsbury Township, York County and Caernarvon Township, Berks County, for which it paid $50.1m and $7.5m respectively. 

Stadium Casino paid $40.1m for a Category 4 venue in Hempfield Township and Mount Airy paid $21.2m for a Big Beaver Borough facility. Finally Parx Casino operator Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment paid $8.1m for the right to obtain a licence for a venue in Shippensburg Township.

Bidders must pay their winning sum no later than the second business day after the date of the auction, after which they have up to six months to submit an application for the slot and table games licenses.

The Commonwealth’s casino industry currently consists of 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos in operation, along with the two smaller resort casinos. The state’s 12 land-based casinos took in a total of $3.22bn last year, an all-time high in absolute revenue but the lowest inflation-adjusted figure since table games were introduced since 2010.