A few Pennsylvania towns have begun embracing the idea of allowing what is being termed as “mini-casinos” in their communities. Some of the selected candidate towns are perhaps a bit remote or far flung for multimillion dollar corporations to invest in.
To date, 664 municipalities have filed resolutions to ban satellite casinos and have notified the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) that they will not form part of the bidding process. Towns can repeal the prohibitions at a later date should they wish, but cannot pass resolutions after the 1st of January 2018.
Reading is the fifth most populous town in Pennsylvania, and currently seems the likeliest choice for hosting a satellite casino. The good news is that the mayor and city council unanimously support bringing gambling to Berks County.
Voglers commission is not just offering to host a casino; they are also actively pursuing one. They have sent a letter to the states licence holders and urged them to consider New Castle.
Every mini casino approved will be allowed up to 750 slot machines and at most 30 table games. Host communities are allowed to keep four percent of the gross gaming revenue as an incentive.
The PGCB will begin the auction for the satellite casinos next month. A total of ten casino operators submit their bids, which are sealed. The minimum bid has been set at an agreed figure of $7.5 million.
The company that makes the highest bid will be allowed to choose a town first from the list of those that have not opted out of the program. Currently, satellite casinos cannot be within 25 miles of an existing casino, unless it may be within distance of the winning companies existing casino.
Currently, of the remaining towns, it seems the preferred satellite campuses are York, Altoona and Williamsport. At present all three towns remain in the pool to choose from.
Smaller, more remote towns have also expressed interest and willingness to welcome casinos. The town of Ridgeway successfully voted to opt-in to the program. However, with a population of just 3,836 residents, it seems very unlikely that they would be picked to host a casino.