Raised from the dead: Pennsylvania selling ‘zombie’ licenses

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania has begun its quest to raise (cash from) the dead: a statewide auction of 40 “zombie” liquor licenses.

All told, the state has about 1,200 liquor licenses that have lapsed and become dormant since 2000.

The auction of the first batch of 40 such licenses, which begins Wednesday and runs through Oct. 27, is the first step toward restoring the licenses to active status.

An alcohol-reform law signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in June allows the Liquor Control Board to auction the licenses for a minimum bid of $25,000.

Licenses in the Pittsburgh area are expected to sell for $75,000 to $80,000, while those in the Philadelphia area might bring at least triple that. Active licenses can be sold on the open market and often bring $200,000 to $440,000 in that area.

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