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Casinos In Pennsylvania Go to Auction Again With Mini-Casinos

casinos in pa

The state of Pennsylvania has been campaigning aggressively to establish gambling as a top generator of money for them. And the Keystone State indeed has become #2 in the country for commercial casino revenue. But casinos in PA have had a difficult time unloading a pre-determined number of “mini-casino” licenses, which are otherwise known as Category 4 licenses.

But Casinos In PA are going to try again.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will once again commence auctions on these “Cat 4” casino licenses on September 4, although no one is quite sure as to what the demand is going to be.

The original state gaming law allowed for ten of these mini-casinos to operate. Indeed, the casinos in PA allow the holders to deploy as many as 750 slot machines and 40 table games, not to mention the right to conduct a sports betting operation. The licenses can only be awarded to the owners of the twelve larger Pennsylvania casinos, in addition to a 13th that is currently under construction. And the minimum bid on the “Cat 4” licenses id $7.5 million.

The problem is that they were only able to auction off five licenses previously (the first one will be opened by Penn National Gaming in 2020). So they dropped any attempts to auction off any more. Now they have decided to take another swing at it.

One of the factors that might make things less desirable about these mini-casino licenses is that there are geographical restrictions on them. For instance, none of them can be within 40 miles of an existing or prospective casino location. That essentially takes them out of the bigger Pennsylvania markets. It would appear that the board is looking to encourage operators to look toward “off-markets” in order to affect wider coverage throughout the state.

But there has not been a lot of early interest. Perhaps one reason that contributes to it is that the $7.5 million – or whatever the winning bid is – does not guarantee a casino operator to be licensed; just that they have to right to apply.

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The Auction Period

And state representative Jim Marshall, chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, has indicated that if no one steps up, the auction period for mini casinos in PA is simply going to close.

Meanwhile, it’s been almost two years since the state of Pennsylvania legalized online casinos, and now there are a couple of operators ready to do testing of their platforms.

Penn National and Parx will introduce it in a “soft launch” phase, and then quickly move on to full 24/7 operations as early as next Monday. There is at least one more operator who will be doing so, and some people who have covered this situation suspects it could be Rush Street Gaming, which owns a pair of land-based casinos – the Rivers and the SugarHouse. In all, there are a dozen operators who have applied for online casinos in Pennsylvania.

There are already online sports betting in the state, and everybody is anxious to get involved in it. Stadium Casino’s “Live!” project in Philadelphia was originally not going to have a sportsbook at all, but now they have changed their mind, and will, in fact, have sports betting when it opens in December.

On another front. one vendor, Unibet Interactive, which is based out of Malta and has been in the online gaming business for quite some time, has gotten conditional approval by the Pennsylvania board to operate online sports betting and casinos. Their licensed partner is the Mohegan Sun Pocono, in Wilkes-Barre which intends to roll out the sportsbook in the fall.

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Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem Sells PA Casino To Double Down In Asia

Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem

Sheldon Adelson, who is the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem is allegedly selling Sands Bethlehem casino in PA. Recently, we found an article on Yahoo Finance, which originated from Travis Hoium from The Motley Fool. It says, ‘Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) Sells Pennsylvania Casino to Double Down in Asia.’ As most people know, Sheldon Adelson is a savvy investor and casino mogul. So, why would he want to sell a Pennsylvania casino to invest more in Asia?

Why Is The Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem Selling Their Casino In PA Doubling Down In Asia?

In the article from Motley Fool on Yahoo Finance, it appears that investors thing The Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem is an odd hotel resort for the $LVS stock portfolio. First of all, the Pennsylvania Casino is not in a major gambling city.

Is Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem Good For The $LVS Portfolio?

Some people feel it is suitable for The LVS portfolio as Pennsylvania did legalize online gambling for real money). If you are familiar with the US casino markets, PA is not the largest market. Obviously, on the West Coast there are casinos in Las Vegas Nevada. Also, on the East Coast, the biggest gambling market is at the casino resorts in Atlantic City New Jersey.

LVS Has The Opportunity To Sell The Property For 1.3 Billion Dollars

Regardless of Pennsylvania legalizing real money gambling online, Sheldon Adelson has never seemed to be a big fan of online casinos. That said, LVS investors are not surprised that Sheldon Adelson jumps on the opportunity to sell the Sands Bethlehem casino in PA for one billion, three hundred million dollars. Moreover, it appears that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama are ‘flush was cash’ and want to get involved in the PA gambling market.

How Are They Doubling Down In Asia?

You know the old saying ‘The rich get richer’ and ‘The Poor Get Poorer”. So, is this the case with Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Bethlehem property? After all, they don’t have any substantial debt based on the debt-to-EBITDA ratio. That said, this seems like a good deal for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The LVS investors may be happy to get their dividends from the sale of Sands Bethlehem.

Indeed, it seems like Las Vegas Sands is freeing up extra cash to double down on their investment to expand their casino resorts in Singapore and Macau. Ultimately, The Sands Cotai Central in China gets a cash infusion of one billion, one hundred million dollars. As a result, they will use this money to add a London-themed resort.

As far as their second double down in Asia, they are putting more cash in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands. More specifically, they are using three billion, three hundred million dollars to expand The Marina Bay by adding a new luxury hotel tower.

It appears that Las Vegas Sands will be looking to win a big long term in Japan. Ultimately, they are looking to get casino licenses now that the Japanese Government legalized gambling. In the Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance articles, it seems like LVS is looking to invest up to twelve billion dollars in the gambling market in Japan.

• Source: Las Vegas Sands Sells Pennsylvania Casino to Double Down in Asia From Finance.yahoo.com On June 9, 2019.

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VICI Purchases Downtown Detroit Greektown Casino In Michigan

downtown detroit greektown casino

Recently, the gambling rumors and stories in their online casino forums say that “VICI completes their purchase on Greektown Casino In Detroit.” While we heard stories about this earlier in 2019, it appears that this casino deal went through. According to a press release on the Businesswire on May 21, 2019, four Michigan Gaming Control Board members approve the c casino sale for Downtown Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel to Penn National Gaming, Inc.

When Does VICI Complete Their Casino Sale In Detroit’s Greektown Casino?

It appears that the casino sale took place in late May 2019. In 2018, the Gaming Operator Jack Entertainment seemed to announce the sale is taking place. Since then, rumors have spread. However, It appears that this all-cash casino sale went through for one billion dollars. Furthermore, the person and/or company that purchases the Downtown Detroit Greektown casino is Dan Gilbert. If you are not familiar with Dan Gilbert, he is the owner and founder of Quicken Loans. Also, he owns the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

In a recent article on Crainsdetroit.com on May 24, 2019, called What’s next after $1 billion sales of Greektown Casino-Hotel? it seems like the deal went through. According to CrainsDetroit.com, VICI Properties purchases the real estate as well as the land assets of the Detroit, Michigan for 1 billion dollars. Furthermore, it appears that VICI, the NY based company who is a REIT, puts down three hundred million dollars to start the contract.

A One Billion Dollar Casino Sale

After many months of hard work on both sides, the deal appears to close with VICI putting seven hundred billion dollars to close the deal. Now, VICI (The New York Real Estate Investment Trust) owns the Greektown casino resort. Now, Wyomissing, who is a Pennsylvania-based operator, has no stake in that casino resort.

Is The Downtown Detroit Greektown Casino In Debt?

In late summer or early fall of 2018, The Detroit Free Press website reports that Penn National State Gaming owes four hundred million dollars on the Downtown Detroit Greektown casino. However, Greektown is the third biggest revenue earner in Detroit? So, how is that possible? Well, we don’t know if that is true or false. According to our research, the only other Michigan casinos that come close to doing their revenue is The MGM Grand Detroit and The Motor City Casino. We don’t know the financial situation on any of these companies.

In the recent press release, Wilmott reportedly goes on the record. According to the Detroit website, he allegedly says, “The fact that we’re the smallest casino of the three certainly gives us opportunities for improvement.” Shortly after that, it appears that the Penn National CEO doesn’t have any significant plans to change the property.

This Greektown Casino Gets AAA Rating

It seems that Penn National establishes this Downtown Detroit Greektown casino-hotel in 2000. This casino offers a high-rise hotel with AAA Four Diamond hotel rooms. Ultimately, there is fourteen thousand square feet for business meetings and one hundred thousand square feet for the casino floor. At this Michigan casino, you can play over twenty-seven hundred slot machines, sixty table games and real money poker in their poker room. Additionally, they have a coffee shop, several restaurants, multiplier bars, and some fast food.

• Source: VICI Properties Inc. Completes Acquisition of Margaritaville Resort Casino and Lease to Penn National Gaming, Inc. From Businesswire.com On January 2, 2019.

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Pennsylvania Lottery at Odds with State Casinos Over iLottery Slots

Pennsylvania Lottery at Odds with State Casinos Over iLottery Slots

Pennsylvania has quickly established itself as one of the more progressive states when it comes to the expansion of real money gambling. The road map for this rapid expansion started towards the end of last year with the passage of new legislation. Part of that legislation expanded the range and scope of real money gambling online.

According to a recent post on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website Philly.com by staff writer Andrew Maykuth , the state itself may be stepping on the toes of other gambling operators with the release of iLottery slot machine games. The report goes as far to say that PA’s decision to offer slot machine games and other casino-style offerings online through its lottery system could result in a possible legal battle with land-based casinos and race tracks looking to expand into the realm of online gambling.

Why Is Pennsylvania Lottery at Odds with State Casinos Over iLottery Slots?

The trouble started in early June when the Pennsylvania Lottery initiated a soft launch of iLottery featuring instant win games of chance. In a post on May 29 by Grant Lucas on PlayPennslvania.com, it was announced that the waiting was over will an expanded online lottery that included certain forms of casino-style gambling in the form of online games. A month earlier, Keno was launched at authorized dealers as part of last year’s gambling expansion bill in what is the 46th anniversary of the state’s lottery system.

PA’s lottery proceeds have been benefitting senior citizens since 1972 and with revenues expected to grow given this new foray into iLottery, many of the programs designed to help the elderly in the state should see their budgets expand accordingly.

In a direct quote by Drew Svitko as the executive director of the PA Lottery, he stated, “As we reflect on 46 great years, we’re hard at work to build the Pennsylvania Lottery of the future. In coming months we’ll launch an iLottery online gaming platform and new types of draw games that will help us modernize our business and generate new funds to benefit older Pennsylvanians.”

Uncertainly surround the state’s lottery system taking its offerings online under this new gaming platform

Quite a bit of uncertainly surround the state’s lottery system taking its offerings online under this new gaming platform remained all the way into late March. Work continued and, under the guidelines of the soft launch, the Pa Lottery made the online games active without promoting them. This was designed to work out any kinks in the system before a full-blown launch of the in-state iLottery.

According to Lotterypost.com, Pennsylvania’s iLottery has already generated $21.6 million in sales. This makes it easy to see why it has quickly caught the attention of other legal gambling operators in the state that have already paid a hefty licensing fee to offer legal real-money gambling in a number of different forms.

Svitko told local media that from a launch date of June 4 there were 45,000 registered players on the new iLottery system in the first 26 days of operation. It also said that $18.7 million had been paid out in winnings despite the limited offering of just 13 games.

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Parx Files an Online Casino Application in the Keystone State

Parx Files an Online Casino Application in the Keystone State | PA CASINOS

Last October, the state of Pennsylvania passed a gambling bill that was designed to expand the casino and race track industry in a number of different ways including online gambling within the Pennsylvania state borders.

Even though the process for applying for an interactive gaming license was put into place earlier this year, no gaming company stepped up to take the plunge in this rapidly growing segment of the real money gambling industry.

When Will Parx Have There Online Casino?

That all changed earlier this month according to the state website PlayPennsylvania.com. Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment is the parent company of Parx Casino. According to the report, the company filed an application with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on July 12 in hopes of gaining all three interactive gaming permits.

The application fee could have been seen as a deterrent to the business set at $10 million for all three licenses, but as part of the deal, Parx will soon be able to offer online poker, online slot machines, and online table games through its internet casino site.

Also announced in the PlayPennsylvania report was an agreement between Parx Casino and casino software company GAN, who will work directly with Parx to build and run the site. Back in 2015, these two companies joined forces to launch an online site that offered free-money casino-style gambling.

GAN also has previous experience with real money online casinos in other parts of the country. The company is behind Betfair’s online casino in New Jersey and more recently it was involved with the real money online gambling operation at the new Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City. The former Revel Casino on the famed Boardwalk reopened its doors to casino patrons on June 28 and the soft launch of the resort’s online casino site made its debut last week.

GAN comes into its latest real money gambling endeavor with a proven track record of success

Registered with the PCGB as a publicly traded public service provider, GAN comes into its latest real money gambling endeavor with a proven track record of success.

Parx was actively lobbying against the proposed PA gambling expansion measure this time last year. It had already established itself as the highest grossing revenue casino in the state, so its goal was to maintain the status quo. Parx gave up the fight when it knew the measure was going to pass into law, but it remains very vocal in the state when it comes to the regulations surrounding any real money gambling expansion.

It fought hard to limit the number of skins on an online gaming license and mobile sports betting application and won a key decision on regulatory control. Online skins will be required to feature the land-based casino’s brand name prominently on the site. This will hold true for sports betting sites as well.

Now that the first domino has fallen in PA’s online casino application process, the speculation as to who is next has begun. The original process earmarked July 15 as the last day to bundle all three online licenses together at a cost of $10 million. Applications can still be received, but the cost would now be $4 million for each of the three forms of online gambling.

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