What Happened at Day One of the Casino Hearings

Yesterday, during the first day of public hearings over Philadelphia’s second gaming license each of the six applicants appeared to have brought along their own distinct fan base.

The Inky breaks down the scene at the Convention Center:

  • “Employees of Joseph Procacci, the South Philadelphia produce wholesaler and lead investor behind Casino Revolution proposed for Pattison Avenue at Front Street, packed the audience with matching T-shirts and baseball caps.”
  • “Fans of developer Bart Blatstein, sponsor of the Provence casino, hotel and entertainment center proposed for North Broad Street, hailed him for a track record in turning around depressed neighborhoods.”
  • “Ken Goldenberg, the developer behind Market8 in Center City, won kudos from the Design Advocacy Group, a professional forum of urban planners and architects that voted his design and siting as having “the most going for it.”
  • “The African American Chamber of Commerce gave high marks to Goldenberg and Penn National Gaming, a rival applicant behind the Hollywood Philadelphia project on the 700 block of Packer Avenue, for working with minority businesses.”*
  • “And Steve Wynn got props from one of the biggest unions representing hospitality workers. Bob McDevitt, speaking for Local 54 of Unite Here, said Wynn’s casinos were known in the industry for good pay, health coverage, and retirement funds.”

The Live! proposal, meanwhile, had unionized employees from the Holiday Inn on Packer Ave disgruntled, as that hotel would be folded into the larger venue.

*This is ironic: At an earlier hearing I attended in February over the Penn National proposal, several City Council members criticized the group over minority hiring provisions.