A new proposal in Pennsylvania would allow casinos to open satellite facilities across the state. Mount Airy Casino in Mount Pocono is strongly opposed to the idea. The Senate bill’s main thrust is to legalize Internet gambling. According to local reports, Mount Airy general manager John Culetsu is not as cold on that idea as it may help draw gamblers, especially millennials, into existing brick and mortar casinos.
Several casino executives attended a senate hearing last week where the bill was discussed. Mohegan Sun Pocono is a racetrack with casino and operates off track betting parlors in Allentown, Carbondale, and East Strousburg. Under the current bill, casinos with racetracks could open as many as four satellite venues as long as their total machine count does not exceed 5,000 machines. The provision would allow racinos the flexibility to change off track betting locations and re-allocate machine placement in response to market conditions. Stand alone casinos like Mount Airy would not have that luxury.
Solo casinos could open up to two satellite facilities if they keep under the 5,000 machine unit limit. Satellites could not open within 20 miles of another license holder unless both parties agreed. Provisions for satellite venues are still under consideration and development. A $5 million fee would be required of each under the current plan. A portion of slot revenues would be doled out to host cities and counties. Proponents of the provision hope that fact will help them gain support for the idea in areas where no casinos currently exist.