‘Suitability’ hearings set for five pursuing Philly casino license

 The Provence Resort and Casino is proposed at the former site of the Daily News and Inquirer building at Broad and Callowhill streets. (Kimberly Paynter/NewsWorks Photo, file)

The Provence Resort and Casino is proposed at the former site of the Daily News and Inquirer building at Broad and Callowhill streets. (Kimberly Paynter/NewsWorks Photo, file)

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold “suitability” hearings this week on bidders for Philadelphia’s second casino license. In the meantime, the five groups vying for the license have been reaching out to their potential neighbors.

The developer of the proposed Provence Resort and Casino on Broad Street has signed a Community Development Agreement with an umbrella organization, the North Broad Community Coalition.

“The agreement includes what we think is a historic agreement to provide security — both for real security and a sense of security,” said Kevin Greenberg, an attorney who handled the negotiations for the coalition. “But private security outside the boundaries of the casino going several blocks and, in some cases, almost a half mile into the community will be both foot and vehicle patrols.”

Greenberg said the organizations agreed not to oppose the plan for development at the former Inquirer building in front of the gaming control board or the city.

“I think it’s safe to say the communities as a whole realize, particularly after the litigation that followed the award of the Foxwoods licenses last time, that it was important to engage in this process much sooner,” Greenberg said.

While the public can attend the suitability hearings, the forums are intended to gather information from the potential casino developers, said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the control board.

“Each of the five applicants for the casino license [will] make a final presentation to the board and then open themselves up for questioning by staff and by the board mostly based on a lot of the information that has been gathered in the background investigations over the last number of months,” Harbach said.

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