Zero Interest Shown In 6th Mini Casino License In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s expanded gambling bill allowed the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to issue up to 10 mini-casino licenses that would be exclusively available to the existing licensed casino operators in the state.
The PGCB has already approved five mini-casino licenses and brought in $127 million in total revenue for the state. Each mini-casino license was issued at $7.5 million and would allow operators to run 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games. When the PGCB tried to issue the sixth casino license there was a lukewarm response and it wasn’t picked up.
Pennsylvania legislators decided to push the PGCB to once again auction the sixth license but the results were the same as none of the 12 casinos in the state showed any interest is obtaining this license. This effectively means that the remaining 5 licenses could be up in the air as casino operators are not too keen to invest in a mini-casino as they have concerns in generating a profit margin of event 20 percent.
Tough Regulations Make Mini-Casino Less Appealing
There are a few reasons why the remaining mini-casino licenses are not very appealing. The remaining licenses do not allow for any more mini casinos to be developed in prime localities. This is because the expanded gambling bill in 2017 made it clear that these mini casinos could not be developed in the vicinity of existing casino sites.
The remaining mini casino licenses will allow casino developers to develop their properties in rural areas or in smaller cities like State College, Williamsport and Altoona. This isn’t a very attractive proposition as Pennsylvanians are more likely to go to the biggest casino establishments in the state and this means getting foot traffic into these new mini-casinos could turn out to be a problem.
The second concern is the unreasonably high tax rates that the Keystone state has imposed on the casino industry. The licensing fees, lack of assurance on continuous foot traffic and high tax rates have thrown off casino operators and it appears that unless the PGCB is willing to make changes, it could struggle to find bidders for its remaining five mini-casino licenses.
The House Gaming Oversight Committee said none of the Pennsylvania casino operators had sent in any feedback so far as to why they did not put in a bid. The Committee is willing to hold another auction if any casino operator decides they are interested in the sixth casino license.