Imagine having a birthday party, preparing all the fun games and cool drinks, and inviting your friends over. What’s the worst possible scenario? It’s probably that nobody shows up and that you end up alone, drinking to forget the unpleasant situation.
This is something that happened to the state of Pennsylvania, which has been drawing a lot of attention lately as they have invested a lot of energy in gambling expansion. One of the things they did was to allow category 4 satellites — up to 10 of them, to be precise. The first five satellite casinos seemed like a great idea, and they immediately sparked interest from casino operators who bought licenses right away.
However, the last two auctions were a real failure as the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board struggles to find an operator that is ready to pay a license fee of $7.5 million in order to start a casino business there.
The auction held by PGCB took place in Harrisburg, and no bids were received along the way. At the moment, there are 12 commercial casinos offering land-based games in Pennsylvania, and the 13th is currently being constructed. The thing with the law of this state is that it only allows operators that already have casinos in Pennsylvania to buy new licenses and open more casinos.
At the moment, five licenses are issued, with Penn National owning two of them. The other three are owned by Parx Casino, Mount Airy Casino Resort and Stadium Casino. But few steps were taken by these operators to actually open satellites in the country, and two licenses are only formally approved at the moment.
Is The Casino Market in Pennsylvania Good?
PGCB needs to take a step back and conduct research regarding the casino market and its possibilities in the state. Could it be that they have been missing something all along?
The lawmakers of this state passed a resolution a couple of months ago requiring that at least one minimum bid takes place during the auction round which would take place between Sept. 4 and Dec. 31.
The first auction did not bring good results, and this could mean that the Pennsylvania market is actually complete and that there is no room for additional facilities to open.
The Expanded Gaming Act, which was voted in 2017, also paved the way for additional gambling-related options. For example, truck stops and airports will now be able to offer gaming lounges. On top of that, the state gave two thumbs up to online casinos, making Pennsylvania one of the states with the most liberal gambling laws.
However, it seems that they took some wrong turns along the way and did not manage to scrutinize the market appropriately. At this point, everyone guesses that there will be no more bids in the future, but who knows — perhaps some of the operators change their minds and decide to buy a license after all? That remains to be seen.
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