On Wednesday morning, Las Vegas Sands submitted what was thought to be a winning $9.9 million bid to secure a 15-mile radius in Western Pennsylvania’s Mercer County. But the state’s Gaming Control Board (PGCB) later determined that the targeted locale impedes on a previously authorized Category 4 satellite casino region won by Mount Airy #1, LLC.
The PGCB subsequently invalidated Las Vegas Sands’ bid, and revealed the next highest offer Thursday morning. Despite not being the highest bidder, Parx Casino parent company Greenwood Gaming is now the winner of the fourth Pennsylvania satellite casino auction.
Greenwood Gaming will pay $8.1 million to secure a 15-mile radius in Cumberland County, with the center being in South Newton Township.
Greenwood Gaming’s satellite location is roughly 45 miles west of Penn National’s Hollywood Casino in Dauphin County near Harrisburg. It’s also just 35 miles west of York County, the Category 4 location Penn National paid $50.1 million to secure during the first PGCB satellite auction.
Each satellite is permitted to house up to 750 slot machines, and 30 table games (the latter requiring a supplemental $2.5 million fee). The next auction is scheduled for March 7.
South Central PA
With most of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh off limits for the satellite casinos, two of the first four winning bids have now focused on the south-central portion of the state. With just one gambling venue in the Harrisburg-Lancaster-York area, Penn National justified its $50.1 million offer in order to secure “a major market for our casino.”
Greenwood Gaming apparently wants to tap into that region with its satellite casino. The territory secured by Greenwood is intersected by Interstate 81, a major artery that travels from the Pennsylvania capital of Harrisburg south through Maryland. And like much of south central Pennsylvania, most of north central Maryland is also presently casino-less.
The location is also just a short drive from Gettysburg, a popular tourism destination due to its rich history. Penn National VP for Public Affairs Eric Schippers told The Morning Call that his company was not surprised by Greenwood’s satellite choice, but refrained from revealing any concerns about how the venue might poach from its own Hollywood Casino.
Keystone Gaming King
Armenian businessman Watche Manoukian could soon have ownership interests in four Pennsylvania casinos. The Greenwood Gaming owner controls nearly 86 percent of Parx Casino, and is entered into a 50-50 partnership with The Cordish Companies to build the Live! Hotel & Casino in Philadelphia.
The Cordish and Greenwood entity, known as Stadium, LLC, won the second satellite casino auction last month when it paid $40.1 million for an area in Westmoreland County near Pittsburgh. Now with Cumberland County, Manoukian could have stake in four gambling venues in the Keystone State.
The gambling expansion package passed last fall legalized online gambling and daily fantasy sports, slot machines at truck stops, airport gaming lounges, and sports betting, in addition to 10 satellite casinos. The measure also dropped a previous stipulation that said majority casino owners and companies are barred from possessing ownership or financial interest greater than 33.3 percent in another gambling venue.