About 25 will speak at PGCB SugarHouse hearing

About 25 people have signed up to speak at SugarHouse Casino’s hearing before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board tomorrow.

PGCB spokesman Richard McGarvey said that about half will speak in favor, and half against, SugarHouse’s requests for the board to extend their operating license and allow design changes.

SugarHouse’s operating license stated that its slot machines had to be up and running by December 2008, which is why the casino interest needs an extension. Casino officials were never convinced by the city to move off of the Delaware Riverfront, but they did agree to design changes. City officials say these changes make the casino a better fit with Philadelphia’s long-term goals for the waterfront. Some critics say the changes don’t go nearly far enough.

Some residents who support SugarHouse want it built, new design or old, for the jobs it will bring to the area. Others oppose building the casino anywhere close to any neighborhood. But the Gaming Control Board says it will only hear testimony related to the petition, not the casino siting issue in general.

Those who wanted to speak had to sign up by May 1, and they indicated whether they would ask the board to approve or deny the casino’s request, McGarvey said.

The meeting will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in room 204A. The Board will start its regular meeting at 9 a.m., with the hearing to follow. After the board hears the testimony, the members will recess for discussion. They will either reach a decision during the recess, or determine that they need more informtion or time to do so, McGarvey said.

McGarvey predicted the hearing will run late into the afternoon.

Posted by Kellie Patrick Gates

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