(Harrisburg, PA) The second of ten possible Category 4 satellite casino licenses was auctioned off in Harrisburg Wednesday, as incoming Philadelphia land-based operator Stadium Casino LLC secured a mini casino location near Derry in Westmoreland County — just east of Pittsburgh.
The winning amount of $40,100,005 is significantly smaller than Penn National‘s $50.1 million bid to acquire a similar license near the borough of Yoe two weeks ago, but is still well above the $7.5 million minimum license price designated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
There were three other participants in the January 24th auction process. The names and bid entries for those casinos will be safeguarded by the PGCB with the next mini casino license auction scheduled for Wednesday, February 7th in Harrisburg.
Who is Stadium Casino?
Stadium Casino is a joint venture between The Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment. The former owns the Live! brand venue in Maryland and other states that has been featured prominently on the popular Poker Night in America television show.
The company plans to open a full-service Category 2 gambling establishment next to Philadelphia sports stadiums by 2020 — which would make it the second brick & mortar gambling destination within Philly — in direct competition with the existing SugarHouse Casino (owned by PNIA parent company Rush Street Gaming).
The location of Stadium’s mini casino license is telling, as the satellite location will be less than an hour’s drive away from Rush Street’s Rivers Casino Pittsburgh property.
Stadium Casino and PA Legalized Sports Betting
Stadium could greatly benefit if SCOTUS repeals a controversial federal blockage of sports betting later this year (PAPSA), which currently prohibits roughly nine-tenths of U.S. states from accepting real money wagers on sports events.
If the Supreme Court decision (expected later this year) strikes down PASPA, Stadium Casino’s planned Philadelphia site could place it in prime position to capitalize on a massively popular sports gambling vertical.
Eight Mini Casino Licenses Remain in Pennsylvania
The PGCB will hold subsequent Category 4 license auctions every two weeks between now and May 16th. The Board hopes to attract continued blockbuster investment into an industry that has quickly turned into a significant revenue generator for the Keystone State.
A number of desirable mini casino locations are still available on the statewide map, including several potential sites along major thoroughfares connecting Philadelphia to Harrisburg and the New York City metropolitan area to central Pennsylvania.
The counties of Pike, Wayne and Carbon (all in close proximity to NYC) are not allowed to host a Category 4 casino due to clauses contained within Pennsylvania’s new gambling provisions.
As winners of the first two auctions, both Penn National and Stadium are now blocked from participating in future “Round 1” mini casino license bidding, but could return to eligibility if the state fails to sell all ten Category 4 licenses by May 16th – an outcome that’s still quite likely.
Mini Casino Licenses Attract $90 Million in Two Weeks
The Keystone State has enticed over $90 million in new investment from the satellite casino industry in 2018 to aid with its budget shortfall, and could generate more than $200 million from Category 4 license sales before the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year ends on June 30th.
PA will also benefit from newly-created online gambling services (regulated internet slots, table games and state-sponsored lottery sales), which could become available to customers as early as this year.
Without a doubt, it is shaping up to be an interesting year for both land-based and online gambling in Pennsylvania.
Author’s Note: Our readers who wish to view the January 24th auction outcome as it happened can watch this PGCB YouTube video starting at the 5:15 mark.