Third Pennsylvania Mini Casino Auction Set for Thursday

Third Pennsylvania Mini Casino Auction Set for Thursday

Pennsylvania Mini Casinos

Pennsylvania’s mini casino auctions are currently getting the bulk of the attention as Pennsylvania undergoes a major expansion of gambling. So far, Pennsylvania has held two auctions with mini casinos thus far proposed in Yoe and then Westermoreland County. The next PA mini casino will be announced on Thursday, after the auction was originally planned for Wednesday.

As Pennsylvania gears up for the third auction, let’s take a look at what has happened so far.

A brief history of mini-casino auctions so far

On January 10th, Penn National shocked industry observers with a bid over $50 million to place a mini casino near Yoe, PA near York. The amount was around $43 million more than the minimum bid of $7.5 million. Interestingly, Penn National is currently suing the state of Pennsylvania because the company says that their Hollywood Casino faces an unfair disadvantage due to the Harrisburg casino’s somewhat remote location.

With Penn National’s bid, the company hopes to protect their share of the market in Harrisburg while also serving the Lancaster and York areas as well as the Interstate 83 corridor into Baltimore, Maryland. The bid will provide insurance to the company should it lose its case.

After the first auction, expectations remained high for the next. On January 24th, those expectations were met as Stadium LLC bid $40.1 million to place a casino in the western side of the state near the Derry Township in Westermoreland County east of Pittsburgh. The location was primarily chosen due to its proximity to Pittsburgh.

Challenges of Placing Mini Casinos

Choosing the location of a PA mini casinos isn’t an exactly science for casinos, as they must consider a variety of factors.

For starters, more than 1,000 Pennsylvania cities and towns have opted out of hosting a mini-casino. In addition, in an effort to avoid cannibalizing existing casinos, a new mini casino must located least 35 linear miles from an existing casino or mini-casino. These restrictions can present challenge for PA casinos which are authorized up to build up to 10 mini-casinos as part of the state’s new gambling expansion.

Much of the eastern part of the state is saturated with existing casinos and won’t be able to add mini-casinos. South western Pennsylvania is also saturated with casinos near Pittsburgh. This means that areas around larger Pennsylvania cities without a casino and the outskirts of major cities — especially those along highways — could see additional opportunities for expansion. Potential mini casino sites could include New Castle, Reading and Williamsport.

Another community hoping for a mini casino is Hermitage which is along the Pennsylvania/Ohio border. This area would be attractive due to its location between Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and the Presque Isle Downs and Casino up north. Not only would this area serve the Interstate 80 and Interstate 376 areas, but would serve Ohioans coming in from nearby Youngstown.

On Thursday we will know the next Pennsylvania location to get a mini casino.