Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced the parameters for the forthcoming auctions that will take place for the licenses required to operate satellite casinos. These casinos are just one of the many provisions included in Pennsylvania’s landmark gambling expansion bill passed in late October.
A Dec. 13 press release from PGCB detailed how the auction process will work. Here’s an excerpt:
“The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today approved and announced the procedures and schedules for the auctions to award the right to apply for one of the new Category 4 casino licenses.”
The when and where of the satellite auctions
According to the press release, the auctions will take place in 10 rounds. The first two will happen on Jan. 10 and Jan. 24. Then there will be two each month through May 16.
The auctions will happen in Harrisburg’s Strawberry Square in a public hearing room. They are currently scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
The goal is to have all licenses auctioned off by May. However, if that doesn’t happen, PGCB will extend the deadline until July 31. If any licenses still remain, Category 3 casinos (resorts) can join in additional auctions until Aug. 31.
Should there still be leftover licenses at that point, the PGCB may add more auctions. Additionally, it could allow casinos who successfully bid on licenses to win more.
Bidding on satellites: Two envelopes, one winner
According to the recently passed gambling bill, satellite casinos can have between 300 and 750 slot machines and 40 table games (max of 30 the first year). The presence of these two types of games requires two separate licenses in addition to the Category 4 license.
The actual bidding process will be a Vickery auction. This means casinos will submit bids in sealed envelopes. Each bidder will also have to provide a second envelope that contains the location where the bidder wants to build the satellite.
Once all the envelopes are submitted, a PGCB board member will open all the bid envelopes in random order. PCGB will announce winners on its website.
The losing bidders and their bids will be kept confidential to, the PBCB said, “assure the competitiveness of the future auctions and minimize the potential for collusion.”