In an unexpected turn of events, it looks like Las Vegas Sands Corp. will no longer be extending its reach to Pennsylvania. In an auction held on Wednesday morning, the owner of the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem was awarded a license for Pennsylvania’s fourth mini-casino. Sands Casino submitted the winning bid of $9.9 million for a casino on the other side of the state in Mercer County, right at Ohio’s border.
However, as it turns out, the proposed location in the bid that was submitted by the Sands Bethworks Gaming LLC, intrudes on an area that Mount Airy #1 LLC had locked down earlier in a different mini-casino license auction. This not so shocking revelation came just a few hours later on Wednesday afternoon and was announced by Kevin O’Toole, the Director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Apparently, Sands’ bid has been invalidated because the location does not meet the requirements of Act 42, the Pennsylvanian 2017 gaming expansion law that authorized the establishment of mini-casinos.
O’Toole is considering awarding Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., which was the Sands only competitor, with the fourth mini-casino license. Still, the Gaming Control Board reconvened on Thursday to announce the winning bid amount and to open the envelope containing the location affidavit.
The Sands’ proposed mini-casino site was supposed to be built within a 15-mile stretch in the northwestern Mercer County, which is just at the Ohio border. Mount Airy Casino resort also proposed a new casino within a 30-mile diameter region close to New Castle in Lawrence County, which represents about 300 miles west of Mount Airy Casino Resort in northwest Pittsburgh, also just near Ohio. Mount Airy outbid two other bidders on February 8th with a $21.1 million bid for the property.
Every two weeks through to the 16th of March, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will be auctioning off the Category 4 mini-casino licenses and the prior auction winners will not be allowed to bid on any more Category 4 locations during upcoming auctions. Thus, Sands might get luckier next time. Applications for the licenses will contain the precise locations of the casino as well as other relevant details.