On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) held an auction for the state’s sixth mini-casino license. However, things did not end so well after the day ended with the board receiving no bids for the casino license. This has effectively put future options in jeopardy as the board ponders over if it should allow other qualified bidders to participate in the auction – only Pennsylvania casinos are allowed to bid on the licenses at the moment.
Should they decide to open up the field of qualified bidders, the PGCB will be required to “determine the criteria and qualifications for bidders” according to Richard McGarvey a spokesperson for the gaming control board. McGarvey went on to add that while this decision could be a solution, there isn’t sufficient time for it to be made. Still, the board has maintained that it will announce its decision at a later date.
Following the Wednesday auction, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Executive Director Kevin O’Toole also said that the board would make considerations about how best to move forward with any “potential future auctions” for the remaining mini-casino licenses. According to the chief executive of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., a development agency, Randy Seitz, the PGCB’s next step as well as its options will be very hard to predict.
“If there continues to be no bid, I’d imagine they’ll have to come up with another strategy or consider it over with,” Seitz pointed out. “The board’s goal was to raise $100 million, and they’ve done that already.”
So, Pennsylvania has raised over $127 million from the auction of the first five mini-casino licenses. When compared to the initial goal of $100 million for all 10 mini-casino licenses, the amount is quite significant and implies that there is still a bit of hope for the remaining licenses. Each of the mini-casinos is capable of hosting 750 slot machines as well 30 table games which make them quite lucrative.
The minimum bid was set $7.5 million but the bidders also have the option of raising the bare minimum. For instance, Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming bagged the fifth mini-casino license after offering only $3 above the minimum. Already, Pennsylvania is the number 2 state in the United States in terms of commercial casino revenue thanks to its 12 operating casinos.