It wasn’t quite Buckner-esque, but it was close.
This past Wednesday, Sands Casino won the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s (PGCB) fourth lottery for a satellite casino license … or so they thought. The PGCB announced that Sands’ winning bid was invalid because the casino’s proposed satellite site was too close to Mount Airy’s satellite casino near the Ohio border.
The day following the error, the PGCB award the fourth license to Parx. The casino’s victory came by default since they were the only other casino bidding on the license..
Their winning bid of $8.11 million was rather paltry considering the first three auctions earned the state $112 million.
Parx will build near Penn National’s Yoe County satellite
As per the PGCB’s regulations for the satellite auctions, Parx submitted their bid along with the coordinates of where they will build their satellite.
Greenwood Gaming Entertainment, the group who owns Parx, selected South Newton Township (Cumberland County) as the site of their mini-casino. The location is about 50 miles due west of Yoe, where Penn National will build their satellite.
The two casinos will capture, presumably, PA gambling traffic headed south across the Maryland border to gamble at Hollywood Casino Perryville and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town.
South Newton lies near Interstate 81 while Yoe is on Interstate 83. Both casinos, therefore, will cover a lot of southern traffic headed in and out of Harrisburg.
According to traffic volume figures from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT), about 45,000 vehicles travel along the section of Interstate 81 that passes through South Newton.
The department estimates that 51,000 vehicles pass by Yoe via Interstate 83 each day, with an additional 11,000 driving through on Route 74.
Parx’ fortuitous win pushes auction revenue past $120 million
The state’s first four lotteries have been a revenue success, netting $121 million. Penn National won the first license for $51 million. Stadium Gaming LLC, whose Philly Live! will be the fourth Philly-area casino, won the second license for $41 million. Then, Mount Airy snagged the third one for $21 million.
The trend among these winning bids is noticeable, as the price for a satellite dropped significantly after each lottery. Even Sands original winning bid of $9.89 million was well below the first three but well within the downward trend.
Sands’ win is considered a steal because the minimum bid amount for the licenses is $7.5 million.
Six licenses are still available for Category 1 and 2 casinos. Should any of those remaining six licenses go unpurchased, the PGCB will open up a second round of auctions. That auction will include Category 3 casinos Valley Forge and Lady Luck Nemacolin.
We’d expect SugarHouse Casino to make a bid for one of the licenses at some point. Parx owned 17.6 percent of the state’s gambling revenue in 2016. SugarHouse was second with 9.6 percent.
While it’s not a guarantee that SugarHouse will make a play for a satellite license, there’s a good chance they will. Harrah’s is nipping at their heels with a 7.6-percent share. It will most likely want a satellite so they can keep pace with Parx and the forthcoming Philly Live!.