HARRISBURG -- Gov. Ed Rendell today credited the anticipated revenue from Pennsylvania's new casinos for keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh.
Mr. Rendell spoke this morning at a Spectrum Gaming Group conference in Harrisburg about gaming in Pennsylvania.
"This afternoon I am traveling to Pittsburgh, where we will announce that all three government entities (state, county, city) have agreed to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the next 30 years. We will build a beautiful new arena.
"Make no mistake about it -- without expanded gaming in Pennsylvania, the Penguins would be gone. The first puck would have been dropped next year in Kansas City."
Kansas City has an almost-finished new arena and has been seeking a hockey team.
The new Pittsburgh arena will be financed by a bond issue with annual debt service payments of $21 million. Of that, $15 million a year will come from gaming, he said, $7.5 million from slots license winner Don Barden and another $7.5 million from a new entertainment fund paid for with gaming dollars.
"If you don't like gaming, understand that we would have lost a very important institution for Pittsburgh. The Penguins would have been gone," Mr. Rendell said.
"There is no way that the county executive or the mayor would have used taxpayers' money to build the arena. There are limits to what the state could do. Nowhere close to a $15 million commitment from the state would have been possible without gaming."
Sources told the Post-Gazette last night that remaining details of the deal had been worked out over the weekend and the formal announcement would be made before tonight's hockey game.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.