A Pennsylvania House committee has started the process of rewriting Pennsylvania’s gaming laws, so a Philadelphia casino license can be rebid statewide.
The Gaming Control Board revoked Foxwoods’ license in December, but right now, the permit is Philadelphia-specific. Gaming Oversight Committee chair Curt Schroeder, a Chester County Republican, said the bill is a priority, but it won’t be fast-tracked.
“We’re going to take a very deliberative process. We have this hearing, at least one other hearing that we’re planning right now. And we intend to take testimony, both pro and con, on this matter,” he said, after the panel’s first hearing on the matter.
Testifying before the committee, Gaming Control Board Chair Greg Fajt voiced concern about rebidding the license – either in Philadelphia or statewide – before Foxwoods investors’ court appeals have been settled. Fajt said it may be years before there’s a final resolution on the license.
“Again, who knows what somebody might do,” he said. “But I think that somebody would have to get a lot of hard thought to spending a million dollars-plus to put together an application for a license that may not exist once this case has wound its way through the courts.”
Among the factors lawmakers will consider as they debate the bill: whether the Philadelphia area’s gambling market is already oversaturated; whether a gaming parlor would be a better fit in another part of the state; and whether it would be better to just not rebid the license at all.
The Gaming Control Board is under no obligation to hand out the Foxwoods license, Fajt reminded legislators during the hearing.