The Morning Call reports that Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will review whether casino gambling is paying its way in Pennsylvania — specifically if it is bringing promised jobs and tax revenues to the state.
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The Inquirer reports this morning that last month’s decision to permit a second Philly casino in South Philadelphia is being appealed by the losing bidders and by the city’s first (and still only existing) casino.
The plaintiffs include developer Bart Blatstein, the SugarHouse Casino, and the two other losing bidders. They note that the winning bidder, Live!, has the same ownership as Parx Casino in Bensalem.
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Here’s a statement from Sen. Vincent Hughes that’s come across the transom in the wake of the announcement that the PA Gaming Control Board has awarded the second casino license to Stadium Casino LLC, aka Live! Hotel and Casino:
“I am extremely disappointed to learn that qualified minority-owned companies will not be given the opportunity to participate in Pennsylvania’s gaming industry. The Gaming Control Board had an opportunity to ensure that the second casino license in Philadelphia was awarded to an investor group that reflected the demographics of our city. That did not happen. This is another missed opportunity to promote minority-owned businesses in a statewide industry that has been very successful thus far with the exception of diversity.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has set November 18th for a vote on whether Philadelphia will get a second casino — and if so, which proposed project will carry the day. The vote comes nearly a year after the board took testimony on the proposals in January.
The bad news is getting worse: Atlantic City, which has seen the announcement of three casino closures this summer, is likely to see even more: Deutsche Bank forecasts the city will be home to just six casinos by 2017.
Something stinks in Delaware and it’s not just the horseshoe crabs decaying on the beaches of the Delaware Bay.
It is the bailout of the state’s three casinos, which may be the worst deal in the history of bad state government deals. And that is really saying something considering New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave Revel casino in Atlantic City $300 million last year, and this year Revel is declaring bankruptcy.
The Delaware deal stinks even more than that one. Let’s go through the reasons why.
Presented for your contemplation: Two seemingly unrelated pieces of gambling news — one local, the other no so much.
• Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board still hasn’t held a vote on a second casino license for Philadelphia. A vote had been expected within 60 days of the close of applications on the matter. Which means that a second casino isn’t a done deal.
• Multiple news reports over the weekend revealed that actor/director/aging pretty-boy/future Batman Ben Affleck has been banned from playing blackjack at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas because security caught him “card counting” to gain an advantage against the house. “You are too good at the game,” one of the security guys reportedly told Affleck as his time at the table ended.
Things seem to have come full-circle for the old Foxwoods property in South Philadelphia. Bart Blatstein, one of the current five contenders for the city’s second gaming license, is said to be purchasing the failed casino site for $13 million. Blatstein had once planned a shopping center for the 16-acre plot back in 1993 when he owned it.
According to the Inquirer’s Jennifer Lin, people like deputy mayor for economic development Alan Greenberger are excited for what this might mean for the area:
As part of the deal, Blatstein will convey to the Natural Lands Trust, a local land conservation organization, a 100-foot-wide strip of land along the river’s edge from Tasker Street to Reed. That will allow the city to continue a waterfront trail across the former Foxwoods site on South Columbus Boulevard, between Tasker and Reed Streets.