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No bidders wanted state mini-casino license

Marc Levy
Patrons play slot machines at Hollywood Casino in Grantville, near Harrisburg, Friday, August 24, 2018. The casino is operated by Penn National Gaming, which may open a mini-casino in York County. Bill Kalina photo

HARRISBURG — Lack of interest has thwarted Pennsylvania’s latest casino expansion attempt.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday received no bidders for a casino license auction ordered by lawmakers as part of an aggressive gambling expansion launched by a cash-hungry state government.

Pennsylvania is already the nation’s No. 1 state in tax revenue from casino gambling. But lawmakers in 2017 authorized the auction of 10 mini-casino licenses to help plug a budget hole.

The first five auctions raised $127 million. Wednesday’s auction was the gaming board’s second unsuccessful attempt to auction a sixth license, and there are to be no further auctions under current law.

The auction was limited to owners of Pennsylvania’s full-size casinos. Minimum bids were set at $7.5 million and potential locations were limited to parts of northern and central Pennsylvania.