Not Rain Nor Sleet Nor Snow Will Stop Penn National From Acquiring Pinnacle

Written By Jessica Welman on March 22, 2018
dog wearing scarf in snowstorm

The winter weather of Keystone State strikes again.

Once again, the mini-casino auction scheduled this week did not go off. The March 21 meeting was rescheduled after inclimate weather prevented people from making it to Harrisburg. As a result, the next auction date is April 4.

It will be the first one of the subsequent auction round. In this round, Category 3 properties and companies who already bought a mini-casino license are open to bid on another location.

While the auction did not occur, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) did hold a meeting. During that time, representatives from Pinnacle Entertainment and Penn National appeared to offer an update on Penn’s acquisition of Pinnacle.

More on the Pinnacle and Penn National business

Both Pinnacle and Penn National presented extensive testimony about the acquisition. While there were some questions regarding Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approval of the deal and a possible regional monopoly, the companies assured the deal is not in jeopardy.

At the conclusion of the meeting, PGCB approved the transfer of The Meadows Casino from Pinnacle to Penn National. Penn National is now in control of both The Meadows and Hollywood Casino as well as a forthcoming Category 4 mini-casino.

PGCB issued the following statement about its approval:

“The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board this week approved the Change of Control of the Category 1 Slot Machine Licensee Washington Trotting Association, LLC, operator of The Meadows Casino in Washington County, to Penn National Gaming, Inc.

Under the agreement approved by the Board at its March 21, 2018 meeting, the license held since September 2016 by Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. will be transferred to Penn National Gaming, Inc., a publicly traded company based in Wyomissing, PA, and also the owner/operator of the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County.

Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc., also based in Wyomissing, will continue to own the real estate of The Meadows Casino and lease the property to Penn National Gaming, Inc.”

As part of the deal, Penn National will pay $3.75 million to the state as a fee for transferring the license.

Other PGCB business includes DFS regs, but no skins

Even with the weather, PGCB did manage to check some other business off the to-do list. For example, the group signed off on daily fantasy sports regulations.

The group also okayed some preliminary regulations regarding online gambling of the casino and poker variety. These included:

  • Advertising
  • Game testing
  • Live dealer games like what currently runs in New Jersey

While those matters were on the agenda, one notable omission was a ruling on how many skins each online casino license can offer. Parx Casino is still lobbying hard for a limit of a single skin to each license. However, numerous groups, including those from the successful New Jersey online gambling industry, where multiple skins are allowed, are pushing for multiple skins.

Those with skin in the skin game won’t know anything until April 4 at the earliest. That is, unless more bad weather pushes back PGCB business another two weeks. Which could create quite the time crunch, since applications are available for online casino licenses starting on April 16.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has been a key voice in the legal betting industry since the repeal of PASPA in 2018. She contributed to and formerly managed several Catena Play-branded sites including PlayPennsylvania, PlayTenn and PlayIndiana. A longtime poker media presence, Jess has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for

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