Pennsylvania casino license auction runs out of bidders
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania received no bids for a sixth mini-casino license on Wednesday, leaving state regulators to decide whether to open five remaining licenses to bidding by out-of-state casino operators or non-casino businesses.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board officials said after the auction that board members will have to decide whether to hold another auction and, if they do, who is qualified to bid.
Wednesday’s bidding was open to owners of Pennsylvania casinos. When they approved Pennsylvania’s casino gambling expansion last fall, lawmakers set minimum bids at $7.5 million and authorized 10 new mini-casino licenses to try to raise money for the state’s tattered finances.
In the event that owners of in-state casinos did not bid, lawmakers gave the board the power to decide whether it is in the state’s interest to continue holding auctions and what sort of entity is qualified to bid in those auctions.
Auctions thus far raised more than $127 million, including Penn National Gaming’s high bid of $50 million in the first auction. Each mini-casino can have 750 slot machines and 30 table games.
With 12 casinos operating, Pennsylvania is the nation’s No. 2 state for commercial casino revenue, behind Nevada. At $1.4 billion, it is No. 1 in tax revenue from casino gambling.