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US – Philadelphia to award second licence

By - 12 November 2014

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is to hold a public meeting on November 18 to award a license for Philadelphia’s second casino. Locals believe Philadelphia’s second license will be issued to one of four applicants, all of whom submitted their plans two years ago. Several observers close to the process believe the license would be awarded to Live! Hotel & Casino, a joint venture of Cordish Cos. of Baltimore and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc., which owns Parx Casino in Bensalem, the state’s highest-grossing casino. Live! Hotel & Casino, which is proposed for 900 Packer Ave. near Citizens Bank Park, is a joint venture from a potent team. Among casinos in the Middle Atlantic States, Maryland Live! is No. 1 in gross revenue and Parx is No. 3. The proposed US$425m casino with 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games would be built at Packer Avenue and Darien Street in South Philadelphia.

Not everyone is on board with adding a second casino in Philadelphia. Legislators from Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties have said that a second casino could drain customers, revenues, and jobs from existing gaming sites in the region.

Dominic Pileggi, a Delaware County Republican and the state Senate majority leader, said he believes that new casinos “are competing for the same dollars. Most of the Philadelphia-area facilities are drawing from the same pool of potential gamblers,” he said. “And one of the factors in where the gamblers decide to gamble is how far the facility is from their home.”

Despite the belief that the Cordish bid will win the license — originally issued to the Foxwoods group for a casino on the South Philadelphia waterfront and revoked in December 2010 — no formal decision has been made. However, the scheduling of the meeting makes it likely that the board has reached a decision under the “qualified majority standard,” which requires that the board’s four legislative appointees must agree on a choice and that at least one of the three gubernatorial appointees must join them.

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