Although online gambling got a lot of the attention when Pennsylvania passed a large gambling expansion in late October, there were also other gambling initiatives included that will impact Pennsylvania for the years to come. One of the most notable parts of the comprehensive gambling reform was the establishment of so called “mini casinos” or satellite casinos.
As part of the new law, cities and towns have the opportunity of opting out of hosting a mini casino within their borders. If they don’t want to host a mini-casino, the governing body of the town or city must opt-out by December 31st and inform the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
And many Pennsylvania towns are doing just that. Since legislation was passed over a month ago, nearly 200 municipalities have informed the PGCB that they will not allow a satellite casino in their jurisdiction. Many of the locations to opt-out of the casinos are located in Eastern Pennsylvania, but some are coming from Western Pennsylvania as well.
Some are just not seeing a benefit of allowing new brick and mortar gambling in their communities. We’re not geographically suited to that business,” said council member of the town of North Irwin. Others cited the potential impact on the local economy.
Despite the decision of dozens of Pennsylvania municipalities, towns are able to reverse their decision at a later date should they change their minds after researching the matter.
What is a Pennsylvania mini casino?
With the passage of Pennsylvania’s online gambling expansion, up to 10 licenses for satellite or mini casinos throughout the state were allowed. Despite the name, these casinos are not exactly tiny. While not as large as the 12 existing casinos in the state, these casinos can run up to 50 table games as well as operate between 300 and 750 slot machines.
Pennsylvania’s mini casinos are likely to be owned by existing Pennsylvania casinos. Still, the requirement of the new legislation mandates that a satellite casino can not be within 25 miles of an existing large casino.
Initial bids to operate the mini-casinos will start at $7.5 million in January.