State receives no bids for sixth mini-casino license

No other auctions will be held — unless there's a change in state law.

  • Ed Mahon

(Harrisburg) — It looks like Pennsylvania will have no more than five mini-casinos for the foreseeable future.

Last year, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board successfully auctioned of mini-casino license rights five times and raised $127 million. Those smaller casinos can offer up to 750 slot machines and eventually up to 40 table games.

On Wednesday morning, the board held one last auction for the right to apply for a mini-casino license in Pennsylvania.

Officials put out two boxes: one wrapped in yellow paper to collect bids, and another wrapped in red to collect names of locations bidders wanted to open the mini-casino.

But no one added any envelopes to the boxes.

Earlier, a spokesman for the House Republican Caucus said lawmakers wanted the board to host another auction to see if there was any interest, and if not, to formally end the mini-casino process.

State lawmakers approved the creation of mini-casinos in 2017 as a way to balance the state budget. Up to 10 mini-casino licenses were available.

Doug Harbach, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, said no more auctions will take place without a change in state law.

Mini-casino plans in Berks and Westmoreland counties are the furthest along in the process and could open next year. Other mini-casinos are planned for Cumberland, Beaver and York counties.

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