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State gaming board to consider revocation of Foxwoods’ license today

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will again consider a petition from its enforcement arm to strip Foxwoods Casino of its license.

And some Philadelphia anti-casino activists are making the trip to Harrisburg this morning.

The petition to revoke was filed by the Office of Enforcement Counsel back in April. Much has happened since then, including the entrance and exit of Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn and the entrance of Harrah’s, which has since its name to Caesars.

When Foxwoods, more formally known as Philadelphia Entertainment Development Partners, and Caesars failed to file documents outlining the financing and new partnership agreements by the November’s board meeting, board member Gary Sojka made a motion to approve the board’s Office of Enforcement Counsel’s petition to revoke the casino concern’s license. But the board instead approved a second motion from board member Kenneth McCabe, tabling Sojka’s motion until today, and giving Foxwoods and Caesars until last Friday to file partnership and financing documents.

Documents were filed Friday, and representatives of the casinos said they had made the deadline. A gaming board spokesman said he could not comment on the contents of those documents. The board’s chief enforcement counsel, Cyrus Pitre, said after the last meeting that his office would be analyzing the documents, and would advise the board whether or not the paperwork met the conditions they set.

An update on Foxwoods is scheduled early in the meeting – right after the Pledge of Allegiance. But the motion to consider the petition to revoke the license isn’t until further down on the agenda.

Philadelphia Entertainment Development Partners and Caesars have also recently filed other documents, asking the state gaming board to approve a change in the casino’s control, grant more time for the casino to open, and allow for changes in design. They filed more than 20 exhibits including loan documents, partnership agreements, a management agreement and various debt and finance-related documents with the gaming board’s office of hearings and appeals. The Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement and the Office of Enforcement Counsel are also analyzing these documents.

It was also at the November meeting that the board was presented with a rendering of the proposed South Philadelphia casino, with the name Horseshoe on top of it. Caesar’s operates casinos in other parts of the country with the Horseshoe name.

The Philadelphia activists attending the meeting, members of Casino-Free Philadelphia, are going to present the board with comments from more than 50 people who oppose the casino, according to a press statement. “The people of Philadelphia will tell the Board that predatory gambling doesn’t belong in our city; they will tell the Board to act with integrity and revoke Foxwoods’ license,” said Lily Cavanagh, Casino-Free Philadelphia’s organizational director.

Contact the reporter at kgates@planphilly.com

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