The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's approvals represent the first licenses for slot machines in the state. Later this year, the state will vote on additional licenses for racetrack-free slot operations.
The other three operators receiving approval Wednesday are private partnerships. Gaming licenses must still be granted.
Harrah's rose 1.1% to $65.35 on the news, and Penn National added 14 cents in afternoon trading to $36.65.
Harrah's has already built and opened its Chester Casino and Racetrack in Chester, Pa., but slots won't be ready until early next year. Penn National will open its Hollywood Casino in Grantville, Pa., in early 2008.