The fourth of 10 planned mini-casino auctions was held Thursday in Harrisburg by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. After a little bit of drama, the preliminary approval to build went to Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment.
Greenwood Gaming, operator of Parx Casino outside Philadelphia, is seeking to build a smaller casino in Cumberland County. Greenwood Gaming secured the auction award on an $8.1 million bid. The mini-casino would be located within a 15-mile radius area that has a center point in South Newton Township.
Under legislation that passed last fall, Pennsylvania officials won’t be allowing casinos in close proximity to existing ones. That legislation also legalized online poker.
The 10 mini-casinos will join the state’s 12 full-fledged casinos to hopefully grow a $3.2 billion gambling market. Pennsylvania has the second-largest commercial casino market in the country.
The drama this week came when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board invalidated a winning bid from Las Vegas Sands, operator of Sands Bethlehem. Regulators determined that Sands’ reserved area intruded on a 15-mile radius area secured by Mount Airy earlier this month.
Greenwood Gaming was the second highest bidder for the fourth mini-casino spot. The group has six months to submit an application to receive a license for the mini-casino.
Under Pennsylvania law, the mini-casinos can have between 300 and 750 slot machines, as well as a limited number of table games for an additional fee.
The previous auction winners were Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, operator of Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Stadium Casino, developer of an upcoming Las Vegas-style casino in Philadelphia, and Mount Airy Casino Resort.
The Gaming Control Board plans to hold its next public auction on Mar. 7.