On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Gambing Control Board was to hold its auction for its fifth mini-casino license. Unfortunately, due to a snowstorm in the state we will have to wait a couple more weeks before we find out who is the next Pennsylvania casino owner.
This week’s delay marked at least the second delay of a mini-casino license this winter, with a March 7th auction pushed back a couple days earlier this month.
The PGCB will delay the next auction to be held in Harrisburg until April 4th.
A look ahead to April 4th
The next auction will be particularly interesting for observers because it will mark the beginning of the second stage of the auction process. Due to the fact there were no bids last time out, all of Pennsylvania’s casinos will be able to bid on the April 4th license.
This includes two new casinos — Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Valley Forge — as well as each of the casinos that have previously won a mini-casino license. The six additional casinos that will be eligible to be bid will likely lead to more activity than we saw over the last two auctions.
And the winner is…
Despite a lack of bids for the last auction, the state has reaped more than $118 million from the first four bids — including $90 million alone from the first two auctions. Might those two casinos — Penn National and Stadium LLC— want to further shore up their territory with another strategically placed casino?
Penn National will put their first mini-casino in Yoe, near York in Southern Pennsylvania. This location was selected due to the proximity to the Hollywood Casino in Harrisburg. Might Penn National want to secure their turf some more by bringing in another casino to the area?
The second mini-casino auction winner came from Stadium LLC with a bid of over $40 million. The owner of the soon-to-be-built Phily Live Casino will put the location of their mini casino near Greensburg, east of Pittsburgh.
While the two largest bidders of the first round could be favorites to take a stab at the next license, perhaps the large bids don’t leave enough room for additional mini-casinos. Winners of later rounds — and smaller bids — could surprise by perhaps bidding more for subsequent auctions.
Or maybe the resort casinos of Nemacolin Woodlands and Valley Forge will take advantage of their first opportunity to expand in the state.
We thought we would know this information on Wednesday but we will now have to wait another two weeks — at least until another snow storm hits The Keystone State.