The Mount Airy Casino Resort’s application to build a satellite casino have been rejected by Pennsylvania gambling regulators as the company couldn’t show it had the cash to build it.
In the latest meeting of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) on Wednesday, top of the agenda was Mount Airy’s wish to build a so-called Category 4 ‘mini-casino’ near Pittsburgh in Big Beaver, Beaver County. In February 2018, Mount Airy bid $21.2m for the Cat 4 license at a PGCB auction.
However, David Barasch, PGCB chairman announced Wednesday that the Office of Enforcement Council had advised the PGCB to reject Mount Airy’s application because of the company finding nobody with enough money to pay for building the venue.
Barasch said even with Mount Airy “exercising reasonable efforts to attempt to secure financing for that project, they were unable to do so.” Not only did the PGCB vote unanimously to refuse the company’s application but also forced Mount Airy to forfeit $5.3m for wasting its time.
As mentioned on the Calvinayre.com website, local media cited Todd Greenberg, Mount Airy general manager attributing the failure on “increased competition from new casinos and nearby destination resorts,” which took a bigger than expected toll on Mount Airy’s revenue. The April ruling by the state supreme court on bigger casinos sharing slots revenue with smaller operators discouraged potential outside investors too, added Greenberg.
Two years ago, the gambling expansion legislation which Pennsylvania approved allowed for up to 10 Cat 4 licenses, which would all be issued via public auctions. The first two auctions brought in $50.1m and $40.1m on winning bids by Stadium Gaming LLP and Penn National Gaming (PNG) respectively.
After that however, interest died down dramatically, with the fifth auction resulting in a winning bid by (again) PNG which was just $3 over the minimum required bid of $7.5m. Efforts to restart the Cat 4 auctions failed completely, attracting exactly zero bids.