According to state lawmakers, bidding wars for 10 Pennsylvania satellite casinos are to begin next month. The announcement which was made by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) indicated that the first rounds of auctions will occur on January 10th at the agency’s offices in the Harrisburg capital. In addition to the Category 4 casino licenses that will be up for grabs on the 10th of January, there are nine more auction dates slated in the following periods with one satellite casino permit being put up for grabs at each of the meetings. Still, the January 10th event is going to be the most action-packed with only the current Category 1 and Category 2 license holders in Pennsylvania being allowed being allowed to place their bid for the Category 4 licenses in the opening round. This rule makes 10 out of the 12 Pennsylvanian casinos eligible for the initial round where they will all be fighting for 10 satellites.
This auction follows right on the heels of the massive gambling expansion package that was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in late October. The law authorized the establishment of the 10 ‘mini casinos’ in the state. However, each of these gambling venues has to be at least 25 miles from existing casinos and will be allowed to stock up to 30 table games and 750 slot machines. The satellites are further required to share four percent of their slot and table revenues with the towns they will be hosted in.
As it stands, bidding will start at $7.5 million with an additional $2.5 million to be added for table games and the bidder with the highest sealed offer on January 10th will be awarded the right to take rural municipality of their choice – this is, however, on condition that the municipality’s resident community have not withdrawn the county’s candidacy.
Other than just the satellites, Wolf’s signature also sets up a regulatory framework for sports betting in case changes are made to the federal law – not forgetting that it legalizes online gambling, airport gaming lounges, daily fantasy sports and gaming machines in some truck stops.
Municipalities that do not want a casino to set up shop in their territories have until December 31st to file and pass resolutions to ban Category 4 gaming and notify PGCB through the local officials. At the moment over 400 towns have reportedly filed such measures which make the towns that are considered to be preferred destinations scarcer.