PA Gaming Review: Mini-Casino, VGTs & Party Poker Carry Expansion Momentum

PA Gaming Review: Mini-Casino, VGTs & Party Poker Carry Expansion Momentum

Mini-casino news made a maxi-splash last week on two fronts in Pennsylvania. A mini license is unexpectedly up for auction in September and already there is a self-announced bidder looking to add a third PA property to its portfolio of gaming properties.

The company partypoker is gearing up to join the online PA poker market, ending a de facto monopoly by PokerStars.

And fuel stop video gaming terminalsVGTs – are back to trucking along the Keystone State’s rural blue highways. But placing VGTs elsewhere is garaged for now.

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Mini-casino license back up for grabs

In a surprise move, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) announced on July 8 that they planned to auction a mini-casino license that became available when Mount Airy Casino failed to qualify for licensing late last year.

This past September there was an auction that attracted no bidders. That was supposed to end bidding for mini licenses forever. But the license denial cracked open the closed door and the cash-hungry PA legislature ordered the PGCB to once again try and peddle the license freed up by Mount Airy’s disqualification.

And just five days later the Cordish Companies, which is developing a mini-casino near Pittsburgh and a full-sized casino in Philly, told PlayPennsylvania exclusively they will bid for the available license on Sept. 2. The opening bid is $7.5 million.

A new player at the table soon as partypoker looks to join

A new player, partypoker PA, wants to get dealt into the market. Approval could come as soon as August. For now, though, the online poker monopoly remains for PokerStars PA.

Party Poker is a player favorite and the second-biggest online poker operator. The platform is owned by GVC Holdings, and already used in New Jersey.

And a third operator, is waiting in the wings.

Truckstop VGTs are back in business

Following a virus-caused long pause, VGTs are in business and expanding.

But just this week the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) made a scad of conditional approvals for preliminarily licensing for additional sites, according to a PGCB spokesperson. And four new locations were fully approved the month before.

A PA State Senator had recently unsuccessfully floated a major expansion during closed-door discussions in the Republican caucus. The proposal was aimed at adding VGT licensing for bars, social clubs, and other locations with liquor licenses. But it got no traction before recess.

Still, the idea could return in November as PA seeks ways to plug budget holes.


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