Baltimore-based Cordish Gaming’s plans to build a casino in Philadelphia are being haunted by racism allegations at its properties in Louisville, Kentucky, and Kansas City.
Cordish Gaming presented an overview of its master plan for its Live Hotel and Casino to the Philadelphia Planning Commission on Tuesday. The $425m proposal for the south side’s stadium district includes 2,000 slots and electronic gaming tables, restaurants, and a multi-level parking garage that can accommodate 3000 vehicles, double the 1800 parking space required by the commission.
During the informational-only presentation, Pennsylvania chapter of the National Action Network Chairwoman Paula Peebles brought up discrimination lawsuits against the casino’s developer as well as the Philly leaders’ lack of concern over the lawsuits.
“Racial discrimination that has been indicated by 24 former employees regarding the former Cordish casinos at their Live! facilities in Louisville, Kentucky, in Kansas City, St. Louis, other places.”
New York consulting firm Metropolitan Strategies released a report last month alleging evidence of widespread, management-directed efforts to keep black people out of these venues. In response, Cordish pointed to a Black Clergy of Philadelphia investigation that found no evidence of racism at Cordish properties.
Mayor Michael Nutter reportedly called National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) president Minister Rodney Muhammad in June to nix a press conference called by the local NAACP chapter to address the alleged racial discrimination by Cordish Companies.
“We have six thousand employees, and we’re not in the business of discriminating against anyone,” said Cordish CEO Zed Smith. “This matter has been vetted by the Black Clergy here and the NAACP. They did a very exhaustive study of our history and our track record throughout the country, which we’re very proud of.”
Stop Predatory Gambling board member Paul Boni also raised opposition to the project, saying that casinos rely heavily on people with gambling addictions and urged the commissioners to visit SugarHouse and Parx to see how they operate.
Stadium Casino LLP, the joint venture of Cordish Gaming and Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment won Philadelphia’s second casino license in November, which will bring the state’s total casinos to 13 when the new joint opens in 2016. The next Planning Commission meeting on the proposed development is scheduled on September 15th.