Five casino hopefuls vying for the second casino license in Philadelphia made their latest pitches in front of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board late last week in what turned out to be an eventful meeting that also saw one casino voice its opposition in seeing a second casino in the City of Brotherly Love.
Penn National Gaming, the Goldenberg Group, Greenwood Gaming, the Cordish Cos. and PHL Local Gaming L.L.C. are among the five operators looking to make pitches to build a casino in the city and each of them received 15 minutes to make their respective cases on why they should be given the second casino license in Philly in the event the PGCB decides to give one. After all the pitches were heard, it became apparent that all five casinos being pitched are different in size and the location by which each establishment is going to be built on. One operator expressed interest in setting up shop on a two-acre land in Center City while other operators expressed their interests in building their joints in South Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, SugarHouse Casino, the only casino in operation in the city, was also in attendance and it’s not difficult to understand why they were there to dissuade the PGCB from offering a second casino license. Hint: they don’t want competition! Ironically enough, SugarHouse found an ally in the form of a neighborhood group that also opposed a new casino in the city.
SugarHouse also urged the board to at least hold of on making any decisions at least until the state’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee completes its study on the future viability of gaming in the state. Apparently, SugarHouse has enough reason to believe that once the study is finished, one of its recommendations is to eliminate existing provisions in the state’s gaming law that calls for two casinos in Philadelphia. Should that be the case, SugarHouse will have the city all to itself. Sneaky, sneaky, eh?
But even if a decision is made before the study comes out, a second license isn’t a slam dunk. Whoever has the inside track among the five operators still needs to get approval from the seven-member board before it receives its golden ticket. It doesn’t have to be a unanimous vote, but it has to be approved by all four legislative appointees and at least one of the governor’s appointees before the license is handed out.
Far from a sure thing, but something all the interested operators are prepared to take part on, much to the chagrin of the one casino in the city seeking to monopolize the vicinity.