Casino owners to get first shot to bid on new mini-licenses

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania gambling regulators will hold an auction Jan. 10 for the state’s existing casino owners to bid on the first of 10 licenses to operate a miniature casino somewhere else in the state.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday approved a schedule of auctions. Lawmakers authorized the new licenses in October in a scramble for cash to balance the budget.

Nine subsequent auctions will be held through May 16. The minimum bid is $7.5 million to operate up to 750 slot machines and buy a separate certificate to operate up to 30 table games.

A winning bidder’s selected location also will be revealed at the auction.

Many areas are off limits, however. Existing casinos have a 25-mile radius of protection, and more than 400 municipalities are barring one.

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