Winning bid thrown out in mini-casino license auction

Written by The Associated Press | Feb 21, 2018 12:49 PM

FILE PHOTO: Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, in Bethlehem. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania gambling regulators are invalidating an auction for the rights to a mini-casino after Las Vegas Sands Corp. submitted the highest bid.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said Wednesday hours after the auction that Las Vegas Sands had selected a site in northwestern Pennsylvania that intruded on the 15-mile buffer zone around the location picked by the winner of the previous auction earlier this month.

The gaming board says it will meet Thursday to consider the second bid for the license, submitted by suburban Philadelphia's Parx Casino, which is controlled by London-based businessman Watche Manoukian.

Las Vegas Sands had bid nearly $9.9 million and selected a site in Hempfield Township in northwestern Pennsylvania's Mercer County. Mount Airy Casino Resort's owners had picked a location in Lawrence County.

An earlier story appears below. 

(HARRISBURG) -- The owner of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem has won the rights to build a mini-casino on the other side of Pennsylvania.

The Morning Call of Allentown reports that Las Vegas Sands Corp. submitted a winning bid Wednesday of $9.9 million to build the casino within 15 miles of a point they picked in northwestern Pennsylvania's Mercer County, along the Ohio border.

They beat out one other bidder for the fourth license under last year's state law authorizing 10 new mini-casinos.

Each mini-casino can have 750 slot machines and license holders can pay another $2.5 million to operate 30 table games.

The first three licenses raised over $110 million. Bids are limited to the state's licensed casino owners, for now.

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