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State Gaming Control Board’s latest mini-casino license auction draws no bids

HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s fifth attempt to auction off a mini-casino license wound up as a bust, according to the Central Penn Business Journal.

The Board received no bids Friday in its auction for a Category 4 gaming license. The previous four auctions netted the state nearly $120 million, but the winning bid prices have dropped each time.

The first of the 10 available licenses drew a winning bid of $50.1 million, while the fourth brought in $8.1 million, the CPBJ reports.

Friday’s lack of bids will not stop the process from going forward, the CPBJ says.

By rule, the initial round of license auctions was open to the state’s 10 large casino operators, who hold Category 1 and Category 2 slot machine licenses. The rules state that if no bids are received in one of the first 10 auctions, the board will hold a new auction open to a higher number of bidders.

Under the new format, Pennsylvania’s two Category 3 resort casinos can now enter bids. Category 1 and Category 2 license holders can continue to bid, and the companies that won the first four auctions can also bid again — another tweak to the original format, in which previous auction winners were forbidden from bidding.

 

 

The minimum bid price is $7.5 million. An additional $2.5 million fee must be paid for permission to add table games.

If the six remaining licenses only sell for the minimum bid with table games added, the state revenue figure will jump to at least $180 million, if not higher, the CPBJ reports.

 

Licenses for the smaller casinos are being auctioned off under a state expansion of casino-style gambling, which was approved last year. The new gambling parlors can house 300 to 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games.