PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Six groups submitted plans for the city's second casino license, including bids by casino magnate Steve Wynn, local real estate developer Bart Blatstein and three separate proposals that would put slots and table games in south Philadelphia.
Penn National Gaming, which already operates a casino in central Pennsylvania, submitted plans that called for two-thirds of its project being owned by a nonprofit, with proceeds possibly going to the city's cash-strapped school district and pension fund.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board announced the list Friday, a day after the application deadline. The $50 million license permits a casino with up to 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games in Philadelphia, which has had Sugarhouse Casino up and running since September 2010. There are currently 11 casinos operating in Pennsylvania, four in the Philadelphia region.
The nearby competition didn't discourage bidders.
Blatstein wants to put a casino at the site of the former headquarters of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. That $700 million project would include a casino, a 125-room hotel and two parking garages, plus shopping and entertainment venues.
Wynn Resorts submitted paperwork for a project not far from Sugarhouse, near the Delaware River. The proposal also includes a luxury hotel, retail, restaurants and entertainment venues.
The three south Philadelphia proposals would be close to the homes of the city's professional sports teams.
Penn National Gaming, which runs Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville, proposes Hollywood Casino Philadelphia just down the street from the stadiums.
The group plans a 100,000 square-foot casino with 2,050 slot machines, 66 table games and a 15-table poker room, along with a 3,500-car parking garage. Since it already owns a casino, Penn National can only own a third of the equity in the project; Penn National spokesman Eric Schippers said the $480 million project would be privately financed and the proposal calls for two-thirds of the facility to be owned by a new nonprofit organization run by veteran gambling executive Joe Domenico.
Schippers said the company is also talking with U.S. Rep. Bob Brady about his idea that money from the nonprofit's share go toward the city's school district and cash-strapped pension fund.
Alternatively, Penn National also is evaluating the possibility of moving the project a few blocks away to property currently owned by the Philadelphia Industrial Management Corp., a quasi-public economic development agency.
Another application came from a partnership involving Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc., which owns Parx Casino in suburban Bensalem, and Baltimore developer Cordish Cos. That plan calls for a casino at the site of an existing hotel outside Citizens Bank Park that would include a 240-room hotel, a 2,500-space parking garage, up to 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games, plus dining and entertainment.
A fifth group, PHL Local Gaming LLC, submitted plans for a casino not far from the Delaware River in south Philadelphia. That project involves about two dozen acres near the Walt Whitman Bridge, currently a warehouse site.
The final proposal involves The Goldenberg Group, a real estate developer, which has proposed a casino for a parking lot near the city's historic district.
Public hearings will be scheduled as part of the gambling board's review process. A decision on who is awarded the license will likely be made within nine months to a year, board spokesman Richard McGarvey said.