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Mini-casinos in Pennsylvania: 1,000-plus municipalities opt out

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A complete list of Pennsylvania municipalities that have opted out of hosting mini-casinos.
A complete list of Pennsylvania municipalities that have opted out of hosting mini-casinos. - (Photo / )

Despite a flood of municipal resolutions prohibiting the development of new casinos in Pennsylvania, the state Gaming Control Board is optimistic it will be able to auction off its 10 so-called mini-casino licenses this year.

Much of focus so far on the new casino licenses, authorized in October under a state expansion of casino-style gambling, has been on the number of local governments to opt out of hosting the new casinos.

That number was more than 1,000 as of Jan. 4, including 153 in Central Pennsylvania (see map for a complete list).

But with over 2,500 municipalities in the commonwealth, about 1,500 local governments are still in play, board officials said. And it only takes 10 to say yes.

Plus, the law allows municipalities to opt back in one time should they be approached by a casino developer about a project they like.

By the Dec. 31 deadline, all 60 municipalities in Lancaster County opted out of hosting mini-casinos.

In Cumberland County, 27 of the 33 municipalities have prohibited mini-casinos. 

It is 11 of 40 municipalities opting out in Dauphin County, while 17 of 26 municipalities in Lebanon County did the same.

In York County, 38 out of 72 municipalities opted out.

The board was slated to begin auctioning off the mini-casino licenses on Wednesday to the 11 largest licensed casinos in Pennsylvania, which was after the Business Journal’s press deadline for this story. Continue to check for updates on new casino licenses.

Mini-casino basics

The smaller gambling parlors can house between 300 and 750 slot machines and up to 40 table games.

The minimum bid price is $7.5 million for a mini-casino slot machine license. A separate certificate for table games can be obtained through board approval for a $2.5 million fee. 

Under state law, mini-casinos cannot be built within 25 miles of an existing casino, unless an existing casino is building a satellite location.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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