Swann backs casino company's arena plan

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann on Wednesday threw his support behind a gambling company's plan to build a new arena for the Pittsburgh Penguins if the company wins a state gambling license.

Swann called Isle of Capri's offer to build a $290 million arena a "win, win, win situation."

"It's a win for the Penguins because they get first rate facility. It's a win for the Hill District, where we're talking about redevelopment, and it's a win for the taxpayers because it doesn't cost the taxpayers a cent," Swann said.

Swann stopped short of endorsing gambling, saying if he is elected governor, he will inherit many things he is not in favor of.

"I'm not a fan of gambling, but I didn't bring gambling to Pittsburgh. This is the only plan that makes sense for Pittsburgh," he said.

With the aging Mellon Arena in the background, Swann emphasized the importance of keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh and redeveloping the area around the arena.

State and local officials have said they will work on putting together a deal to build a new hockey arena in Pittsburgh with some public money -- with or without help from the Penguins.

Besides Isle of Capri, two other groups are vying for the gambling license. Forest City projects its Harrah's casino could generate nearly 4,000 direct jobs and PITG Gaming says its North Shore casino will bring in 1,500 jobs.


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