Sands’ Cat 4 casino bid invalidated due to location

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board held the fourth Category 4 casino auction and winning the right to build a mini-casino on the other side of the state was Sands Bethworks Gaming, LLC.

The company whose parent organization is Las Vegas Sands submitted the nearly $9.9 million bid to build the satellite casino within a 15-mile range of its chosen point in Hempfield Township, in northwestern Pennsylvania. However, just hours after the Gaming Control Board announced that Sands had won the fourth mini-casino auction, the board said the bid was invalidated.

While the bid exceeded the required minimum amount of $7.5 million, the 15-mile radius around the small town of Hempfield Township in Mercer County, reportedly intruded upon the zone previously reserved by Mount Airy #1 LLC, according to the press release. The operator of Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County won the third auction on Feb. 8th with a submission of nearly $21.2 million and for its planned mini-casino chose the coordinates of New Castle in Lawrence County.

Because Hempfield and New Castle are less than 30 linear miles apart, the 15-mile zone reserved by Sands overlapped Mount Airy’s previously claimed zone, thus violating the provisions of Act 42 which the Pennsylvania Legislature voted to approve on October 26, 2017.

The Sands’ bid having been invalidated, on Thursday, Feb. 22, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced that the second highest bidder, Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., had been awarded the fourth mini-casino auction. The operator of Parx Casino in Bucks County, bid $8,111,000 and selected a location within a 15-mile radius area with a center point in South Newton Township in Cumberland County.

Meanwhile, gaming board spokesman Doug Harbach reportedly said that Sands is eligible for upcoming Category 4 auctions. Six auctions, which run bi-weekly from March 7 to May 16, remain. First dibs on the new licenses go to Pennsylvania’s racetrack and standalone casino operators prior to the process being opened to previous auction winners, other qualified entities and the state’s two resort casinos.

The first Category 4 license was awarded to a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association, which submitted the winning bid of $50.1 million during the first auction. The second license went to Stadium Casino, LLC, with a bid of $40.1 million.

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