Pennsylvania's First Mini-Casino Auction Goes To Penn National With $50M Bid

While simultaneously launching a lawsuit against Pennsylvania over the addition of 10 mini-casinos in the recent gambling expansion, Penn National Gaming bid for and won the first mini-casino license. The gaming giant bid $50.1 million for a license with a starting bid of just $7.5 million.

In its lawsuit against the state, Penn National argues their Hollywood Casino property in Grantville is uniquely at risk of losing revenues to the new mini-casino. Penn National claims that up to two-thirds of their customers live outside the protective 25-mile radius, and because of their more remote location their protective range does not overlap with any other existing casino like the casinos near Pittsburgh.

Penn National openly admits they want to stop the construction of the new casinos, so what is their goal placing such an outrageously high bid to win the first category 4 license? According to a statement from Penn National senior vice president of Public Affairs, Eric Shippers, their goal is to protect their market share in Central Pennsylvania by whatever means possible.

Shippers said Penn National is happy to be the winning bidder, but noted that the company's pending federal lawsuit shows how they really feel about having to pay to protect their profits at Hollywood Casino. He went on to say the state gambling expansion is forcing Penn National to bid against itself.

Penn National must make good on their bid by paying the $50.1 million to the state by January 12 at 4 p.m., or the license will be available to the next highest bidder.

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