State House bill would open Philly casino license to state
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HARRISBURG -- A House committee voted today to make it much harder to locate a second casino with slots and table games in Philadelphia.
The Gaming Oversight Committee, controlled by Republicans, said the new casino license would be available anywhere in the state, as long as the state gained major gaming revenue from it.
The state Gaming Control Board has revoked the stand-alone slots license that it had issued to Foxwoods in Philadelphia in 2006, and state Rep. Curt Schroder, R-Chester, wants to make that the license available to the highest casino bidder, anywhere in the state.
The board's revocation decision has been appealed to Commonwealth Court by the losing Foxwoods bidder, so nothing can happen for a few months while the court considers the matter.
But if the revocation is upheld, Mr. Schroder wants to give other localities, perhaps in the central or western portions of the state, a chance to get the casino. He would auction off the license to the highest bidder, a procedure that was not done in 2006 when existing racetrack and stand-alone casinos got their licenses. Those decisions were simply made by the gaming board based on applications from would-be casino owners.
A report recently done for state Treasurer Rob McCord said that southern York County would be the most lucrative place for a new casino in Pennsylvania, because there aren't any other casinos in that region. The region around Reading, Berks County, was listed as the second most lucrative.
Mr. Schroder said Philadelphia already has the SugarHouse Casino within city limits, plus a racetrack casino in nearby Bucks County and another one in nearby Delaware County, with a smaller, resort casino set to open next spring just west of Philadelphia near Valley Forge. He said the southeast area of the state is saturated with casinos and Philadelphia doesn't need a second one within city limits.
His bill, House Bill 65, now goes to the full House for action.
First Published October 17, 2011 12:52 pm