Pa. OKs South Philly site for city’s second casino

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State officials have selected a spot in South Philadelphia for a second Philadelphia casino. In the heart of the city’s sports stadium complex, it’s one that many will be able to see and access.

“Stadium Casino LLC doing business as Live! Hotel & Casino is approved by a majority vote for a category two license in the city of Philadelphia,” announced Bill Ryan of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board Tuesday afternoon.

After a review of what he called “four strong proposals,” Ryan said the panel agreed on the plan for 900 Packer Ave.

The Live! casino will be built on the site of a Holiday Inn now sitting in the shadow of the sports complex. The plan calls for 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games as well as a 220-room hotel.

The Live! Hotel & Casino is a joint venture of Cordish Cos. of Baltimore and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, which already owns the Parx Casino in Bensalem.

Robert Green of the license-winning team said he’s excited about the proposal.

“It’s a win-win situation for both Philadelphia and the commonwealth,” Green said.

Bart Blatstein, who had proposed an entertainment complex at North Broad and Callowhill, is unhappy with the panel’s choice.

“It’s shocking they would choose another crappy ‘slots in a box’ product,” he said.

Bruce Crawley of Casino Revolution, another developer who submitted a proposal for Front and Pattison in South Philadelphia, questions whether the board followed its own guidelines.

“There was a lot of very specific criteria issued by the gaming board. We at PHL Local Gaming did everything we did to adhere to that direction, and the minority participation was just one,” he said.

Mayor Michael Nutter said he was pleased a plan was finally selected.

“We needed to move forward … they needed to make a decision,” he said. “It is what it is. They get to make that choice. For us, it’s a $425 million projects, 2,000 to 3,000 construction jobs, 1,500 permanent jobs, $16.5 million in anticipated tax revenue to the city.”

Losing bidders will have 30 days to appeal the decision, and it’s expected that South Philadelphia residents will head to court in an attempt to block the casino.

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