Penn National Gaming Snags Second Mini-Casino License

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s fifth mini-casino license was awarded to the owners of Penn National Gaming, who bid $7,500,003 , the lone bid for the day’s auction.

With their bid, the company has selected a 15-mile radius near West Cocalico Township, located in Lancaster Country. The mini-casino represents the second mini-casino license that Penn National Gaming has acquired since bidding began earlier this year.

Details of Mini Casino #5

Penn National’s bid today was the first time the company was eligible to bid in a “Category 4,” or mini-casino auction, since they won the first mini casino auction on January 10th with a bid of $50 million. The first four licenses were awarded between January 10th and February 22nd, before the statefailed to attract any bids on March 10th.

The $7.5 million bid by Penn National was the minimum amount needed to secure a mini-casino license.

The location of the casino was selected to be within a 15 mile radius that is centered around West Cocalico Township. In choosing the location, Penn National looks to further protect the Hollywood Casino located in Harrisburg. On January 10th, Penn National strategically selected a their first mini casino location to be placed south of Harrisburg on the way to Baltimore, Maryland in Yoe Pennsylvania.

Below is a map of mini-casino locations determined thus far:

Mini Casino Locations in Pennsylvania

Penn National Quickly Expanding In Pennsylvania

Penn National has been extremely active in Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion despite filing a lawsuit earlier this year protesting mini-casino placement rules.

In addition to the two mini casino locations, last December Penn National agreed to acquire Pinnacle Entertainment, which operates 16 casinos across the country including the The Meadows Casino and Racetrack. That deal was approved by Pennsylvania regulators last week as well as shareholders from both companies over the last two weeks.

Penn National’s auction win today means the company will operate four major properties in the state including a couple of off-track wagering locations in York and Lancaster County.

What’s Next

With five of the ten mini-casino licenses claimed thus far, five more licenses remain. The next mini casino auction will be held on April 18th at 10 AM. Given that the fifth mini-casino license went for just over the $7.5 million minimum bid and Penn National was the only bidder on the day, it will be interesting to see if there is any bid on April 18th. The second phase of the mini-casino auction process could be nearing an end.

Will Penn National bid for yet another license or will a casino that abstained from bidding on Wednesday decide to jump into the fray? If there are no bids later this month, the mini-casino auction process will be opened up to other entities.

Although it is safe to assume that the days of bids into the tens of millions of dollars could be over, we will have to stay tuned over the next few weeks to see if Pennsylvania casinos continue to bid to keep other entities out.