Penn National emerged as the winner of the first satellite casino auctions in Pennsylvania to establish a casino in York County close to the southern border of Pennsylvania. The winning bid submitted on Wednesday was $50.1 million. Being one of the biggest gambling service providers in the country, they easily edged out three other bidders all reputable casino operators. This came on the back of a law Suit the company had filed seeking to stop the establishment of new-casinos approved through the gambling bill passed two months ago. Penn National indicated that placing the bid at the Pennsylvania satellite casino auction was a precautionary measure in case they lost the lawsuit.
As the state government seeks to supplement its budget, it has turned to auctioning the rights for the establishment of 10 authorized casinos. Penn National is looking to expand its casino operations into Maryland with the rights won at the auction. Previously, its Hollywood casino has been heavily reliant on gamblers from south-central Pennsylvania as well as the York area. In a bid to elaborate their strategy Penn National’s Vice President for public affairs Eric Schippers said, “We are going to be in cross-border competition and hope to penetrate even deeper into Maryland than we have thus far.” Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board indicated that among the ten eligible bidders for the auction, only four submitted their bids, with the lowest bid being $7.5 million. The gaming regulation board had concerns about future collusion by bidders and therefore decide not to reveal other casinos which bid and the number of their bids. They only confirmed the number of bids, the winning bid as well as the least bid. On an envelope seen at the beginning of the public meeting was the name Sands Bethworks, one of the casino operators in Las Vegas. However, the operator’s spokesman declined to confirm whether it was a bid or not.
Penn National’s York casino floor will be limited to 750 gaming terminals and 30 tables as compared to their Hollywood casino that boasts of 50 table games and over 2,300 slots. Penn National will also be required to pay an additional $2.5 million for table games. In light of all these, the company paid $100000 in this bid than what it paid for its Hollywood category one casino a decade ago. Trying to shed some light on why the company had decided to incur the huge cost, Eric Schippers said, “It was an investment we felt like we had to make to protect a major market area for our casino. That cannibalization would have been, in our view, very significant.”
The casino will be within a 30-mile circumference which will include York city and will be partly crossed by interstate 83 which goes on to connect to Baltimore. The centre of the boundary will be 10 miles north of the Maryland border. The company will have to fulfil all its legal obligations as far as the establishment of the casino is concerned for the deal to be completed.