Pennsylvania trying anew to auction mini-casino licenses
FILE – In this May 24, 2012 file photo, patrons play the slot machines at Harrah’s Casino in Chester, Pa. Harrah’s recently began taking sports bets under the state’s gambling expansion. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
(Harrisburg) — Pennsylvania will try again to award licenses for five more mini-casinos, part of an aggressive gambling expansion authorized in 2017 by a cash-hungry state government.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday approved a motion to restart auctions Sept. 4, under orders by a provision slipped into a budget-related bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf.
The gaming board stopped the auctions last year after it received no bids for a sixth license. The first five auctions raised $127 million, and the first mini-casino is expected to open next year.
The auctions are limited to owners of Pennsylvania’s 12 operating casinos and a 13th that’s under construction in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania is the nation’s No. 2 state for commercial casino revenue, behind Nevada, and No. 1 in tax revenue from casino gambling.