Philadelphia investor Ira Lubert has won the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s category four casino auction, securing the triumph with a winning bid amount of $10,000,101.

The minimum bid for the sole licence up for grabs was $7.5m, with Lubert beating off the challenge of one unnamed bidder. The proposed location for placement of the proposed facility is in a 15-mile radius area with a centre point in Unionville Borough in Centre County.

Lubert is now required to pay the bid price to the Commonwealth within two business days, and then has up to six months to submit an application for the category four slot machine license.

The application will contain the precise site of the proposed mini-casino, thought to be Nittany Mall, as well as detailed plans and information concerning the proposed building plan, amenities, employment projections and other related information. Once the application is received and determined to be complete, the PGCB will post public information about the project.

This latest auction was possible after a prior auction winner Mount Airy Casino Resorts was denied a category four slot machine license by the state regulator. 

Lubert is currently licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in connection with an ownership interest with Holdings Acquisitions Co, operator of Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.

A category four slot machine license permits the entity to operate between 300 and 750 slot machines, as well as petitioning for permission to initially operate up to 30 table games for an additional fee of $2.5m with the capability of adding an additional ten after its first year of operation.

Four other similar licenses were awarded in 2018 auctions with three of those under construction, however, only The Cordish Companies’ Live! Casino Pittsburgh is scheduled to debut this year. 

The project is expected to generate $188m in annual economic impact, with an additional $148m from construction, including approximately 960 direct and indirect construction jobs and in the region of 500 permanent new jobs for local and regional residents.