PNGI submits winning bid for satellite casino near Maryland border

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Jan. 15, 2018

Penn National Gaming Inc. has won the bidding for the first Category 4 casino license in Pennsylvania, and the facility would be located not far from the Maryland border about 35 miles north of Baltimore.

It was the first round of bidding for up to 10 satellite casinos with 300-750 slot machines and up to 30 table games. Category 1 casinos, which are operated by the state’s racetracks, have first crack at the licenses under the gaming expansion law of 2017.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said four bids were received, and PNGI submitted the highest one at $50.1 million. The bidding for satellite casinos starts at $7.5 million, with another minimum of $2.5 million for table games.

The bid was submitted by Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, which is based at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course just northeast of Harrisburg. The casino would be located within a 30-miles radius of the borough of Yoe, which is southeast of York.

PNGI operates an off-track betting facility in York just off Interstate 83. Category 4 casinos in Pennsylvania are permitted to offer off-track wagering under the new law.

Successful bidders for the satellite casino licenses have up to six months to submit applications and identify the exact location for the gaming operation. The law allows communities to “opt out” of hosting a casino, but there are enough in the PNGI radius that are willing to participate.

PNGI, which recently announced plans to purchase The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in western Pennsylvania as part of deal with Pinnacle Entertainment, told pennlive.com it seeks to protect the southern portion of its Hollywood Casino market from competitors.

“We feel very comfortable operating in what is essentially our back yard,” PNGI spokesman Eric Schippers told pennlive.com. “I think it gives us a chance to also be able to draw from cross-border, into Maryland.”

Soon after the gaming bill was signed into law, PNGI filed a lawsuit targeting the satellite casino portion of the law. The company is proceeding with the suit despite its winning bid.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore is the closest Maryland casino to York. The Maryland Jockey Club operates an OTB parlor in Timonium, just north of Baltimore, and on Jan. 22 is scheduled to open another one in Carroll County, about 45 minutes from York.

PNGI operates one Maryland casino: Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County in the northeastern part of the state.

The PGCB will hold its next Category 4 casino license auction Jan. 24.