December 13th, 2017


Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Commonwealth Tower, Strawberry Square
303 Walnut Street, 5th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101


Doug Harbach or Richard McGarvey (717) 346-8321

Gaming Control Board Announces Schedule And Procedures For Category 4 Casino Auctions

HARRISBURG, PA:   The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Boardtoday approved and announced the procedures and schedules for the auctions to award the right to apply for one of the new Category 4 casino licenses.

The first of the “initial round” of auctions will be held on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. just prior to the start of its regularly scheduled Board meeting at its Public Hearing Room located on the second floor of Strawberry Square in Harrisburg. 

The Board plans to hold additional auctions on the following dates in the Board’s Harrisburg Public Hearing Room:

January 24, 2018

February 7, 2018

February 21, 2018

March 7, 2018

March 21, 2018

April 4, 2018

April 18, 2018

May 2, 2018

May 16, 2018


At this juncture, the start time for all auctions will be 10:00 a.m. with the dates subject to modification at the Board’s discretion and as circumstances dictate.  Any modification of the dates will be posted to the Board’s website, The Board will stream the auctions live via its web site.

Act 42 established three possible rounds of auctions to award these 10 licenses:

  • The “initial round” which could include up to ten separate auctions in which the participants are current holders of Category 1 (Race Track) and Category 2 (Stand Alone) slot machine licenses. This round of auctions must be completed by July 31, 2018;
  • A “subsequent round” will be held if all 10 available licenses are not auctioned off. Should this round of auctions occur, the two holders of Category 3 (Resort) slot machine licenses could participate along with any Category 1 or 2 license holders even if any of those holders have already won a Category 4 auction. This round of auctions must be completed by August 31, 2018.
  • Finally, if the 10 licenses still have not been awarded, the Board may hold “additional auctions” in which all Category 1, 2 and 3 license holders can participate even if any has already won a Category 4 auction, along with other qualified entities.

Act 42 also established a minimum bid price of $7.5 million for Category 4 slot machine licenses.  A separate certificate for table games can then be obtained through Board approval for a fee of $2.5 million. A Category 4 facility may have between 300 and 750 slot machines  along with a maximum of 30 table games in its first year of operation with the capability of adding an additional 10 tables games after its first year of operation.

Following the auction process, winning bidders must pay the winning bid amount no later than 4 p.m. on the second business day after the date of the auction. They then have up to six months to submit an application for the Category 4 slot machine license.

Regarding the procedures to be followed in each auction, the Board approved the following key elements:

  • A representative of each bidder shall present two sealed envelopes to the Board Secretary, prior to the commencement of the auction,
    • one identified as “Bid” with its bid amount inside; and,
    • a second marked with “Affidavit / Location” in which the contents clearly indicate the geographic point (longitude and latitude) which will serve as the center of the selected “Category 4 location”, as well as the county and municipality where that center point is located.
  • Upon receipt of the aforementioned-envelopes from every bidder at an auction, an individual designated by the Board, will open the bid envelope for each bidder in random order. 
  • Once all bids have been opened by designated Board staff, the winning bidder and the amount of the winning bid will be announced.
  • The identity of the losing bidders and the amount of their losing bids will not be announced and will be maintained as confidential in order to assure the competitiveness of the future auctions and minimize the potential for collusion. 
  • After the winning bidder at an auction is determined, the winning bidder’s second envelope will be opened and the Category 4 location chosen by the winning bidder will be announced by the Board publicly stating the following:
    • the geographic point (longitude and latitude) which will serve as the center point of the Category 4 location; and,
    • the county and municipality wherein such point is located.
  • The Board will thereafter post on its website the name of each winning bidder, the amount of the winning bid and the Category 4 location chosen by the winning bidder.


Additional elements of the adopted procedure along with the full text of Act 42 are available on the Board’s web site including the handling of ties.

The Board also announced that it will soon make an addition to its web site in which questions about all the various new forms of gambling approved under Act 42 will be answered. The page will also provide a direct link to permit additional questions that may not be part of the FAQ page at the time to be submitted for response.

About the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board:

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is tasked to oversee all aspects of the state’s casino industry, along with oversight of new gaming initiatives to the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act recently approved through the signing of Act 42 of 2017.

The Commonwealth’s casino industry currently consists of 10 stand-alone and racetrack casinos in operation, along with the two smaller resort casinos.  These facilities collectively employ 18,000 people and annually generate approximately $1.4 billion in tax revenue from slot machine and table games play. The largest portion of that money is used for property tax reduction to all Pennsylvania homeowners.

Additional information about both the PGCB’s gaming regulatory efforts and Pennsylvania’s casino gaming industry can be found at You can also follow the agency on Twitter by choosing @PAGamingControl.