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US – Mount Airy wins auction for Pennsylvania’s third mini-casino

By - 12 February 2018

The operator behind the Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County has come out on top in the auction for Pennsylvania’s third mini-casino.

Mount Airy will pay just over US$21m to build a mini-casino in Lawrence County, northwest of Pittsburgh and bordering Ohio, which doesn’t have any casinos.

Mount Airy decided to outbid Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and Parx Casino to land the licence. It has so far remained tight-lipped on the ‘win’ and has six months to finalise its blueprint for the project.

The mini-casinos are allowed to operate 750 slot machines and 30 table games. Only the existing operators for Pennsylvania’s 11 casinos are allowed to bid. Their larger counterparts in Pennsylvania are allowed to operate 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games.

This was the third of 10 new Category 4 casino licenses being auctioned off by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The cost of the third licence is much less than the first two.

Penn National paid $50.1m to land a licence near Yoe in York County, which will allow it to tap into players from Maryland, whilst Stadium Casino paid $40.1m to develop a licence near Greensburg, Westmoreland County where it will target the Pittsburgh market.

Joseph Weinert, Senior Vice President of analytical group Spectrum Gaming, said: “What we’re seeing is casino operators are targeting very specific areas, finding those very localised pockets where they can get a good return on investment. I think this mini-casino scheme that Pennsylvania has implemented, rather quickly I might say, is going to be imitated in other states in the foreseeable future.”

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