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No bids for mini casino license | Local News

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No bids for mini casino license | Local News
FILE - This Feb. 25, 2015, file photo shows Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Bethlehem, Pa. Las Vegas Sands Corp. is selling its Bethlehem casino to Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians based in Alabama in a $1.3 billion deal announced Thursday, March 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) Matt Rourke

HARRISBURG — Mercer County is no closer to knowing if its chance to attract a new mini casino is still in play, but one major player might be out of the picture.

The latest auction for licenses passed uneventfully Friday, with no casino developers coming forward with a bid.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control board is offering 10 licenses for new, small casinos. Friday was the fifth round of bidding, said Randy Seitz, chief executive officer of Penn-Northwest Development Corp., Mercer County’s lead economic development agency.

“I believe there are six licenses left, so there’s still a pretty good chance for Mercer County,” Seitz said.

During an auction, business representatives must present the board with a bid of at least $7.5 million and a set of coordinates including the county and municipality. If a licensee wins a bid, the mini casino must be built within a 15-mile radius of the coordinates.

One of the existing bidders, Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, this week announced the sale of its full-size casino in Bethlehem, to an Indian tribe in Alabama. Although Sands visited Mercer County as a possible location to bid on, Seitz said the sale might prevent the company from bidding in the future.

“If they sold all of their holdings in (Pennsylvania), then that would preclude them from the bidding process, since the only folks who can bid are the 10 major casino owners in Pennsylvania,” Seitz said.

Two weeks ago, Sands was awarded a bid for a mini casino in Mercer County, then had that bid voided hours later when it was determined the radius of its bid location near Greenville slightly overlapped with another successful mini casino license in Lawrence County.

Starting Monday, Seitz said representatives from Penn-Northwest and the tourism agency VisitMercerCountyPA will begin sending out letters to the nine remaining casino owners and continue promoting Mercer County as a viable location for a mini casino.

“Sands no longer being able to bid on any casinos won’t stop us in Mercer County. We’ll identify another major casino operator,” Seitz said. “Mt. Airy bid on Lawrence County, and their 15-mile radius brings them into Springfield Township, so we’ll lobby Mt. Airy to choose that location as an attractive option for their mini casino. It’s visible from I-79. It’s a site that is adjacent to the shopping mall outlets with 6,000 visitors a day. There’s 23,000 cars a day that go by on Route 18. And there’s 30,000 cars per day on I-80.”

County tourism and development officials have been pitching locations including sites near the Grove City Premium Outlets in Springfield Township and the Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage.

Starting with the next round of subsequent auctions, the bidding will be opened up to existing Pennsylvania Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3 slot-machine licensees. Any Category 1 or 2 licensee that successfully bid in the previous auctions will be allowed to bid again, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Executive Director Kevin O’Toole said at the auction.

The next casino license auction will be March 21. The auction can be viewed on either the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s website or on YouTube.

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Read more http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNHYZH_bSOxNd7weh6Kd99PXLmonZw&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=52779825312553&ei=FQ-kWsCpB4vkhgGOpo3QBg&url=http://www.sharonherald.com/news/local_news/no-bids-for-mini-casino-license/article_1ceb1382-241d-11e8-bf60-3f9b3afbec8c.html

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