Neil Bluhm's other casino

Written by Bill Toland on .

SugarHouse Casino rendering: development management associates, llcNeil Bluhm's second Pennsylvania casino (that would be the former Majestic Star on the North Shore) is doing better than the first one he conceived, SugarHouse Casino, on Philadelphia's waterfront. If you think the process has been a mess in Pittsburgh -- with lawsuits a plenty, disputes over garage height, and finally Don Barden's financial meltdown -- you'd probably be right, but it's been smooth sailing compared to Philadelphia: Nearly two years after the casino licenses were awarded, they have yet to even agree on where the casinos will be built.

At what point does Neil Bluhm & Co. give up and move the casino to a less controversial location? Maybe sooner than later:

"Officials plan to meet with the developers of a second Philadelphia casino to see if they will consider alternative sites in the city. City officials hope to meet with SugarHouse after Labor Day. The company is planning a casino in the city's Fishtown neighborhood. The project is opposed by some community members. Representatives of a casino project planned for the Delaware River waterfront in South Philadelphia said Thursday that they would at least consider other sites. Neighbors have also opposed that project, which is being developed by Foxwoods."

But SugarHouse probably wouldn't move unless Foxwoods agreed to do the same:

"Foxwoods Casino would consider building its slots parlor on sites away from the Delaware River waterfront, Gov. Rendell announced yesterday after meeting with Foxwoods principals. The development - which the governor called 'good news' - is the latest movement in a protracted struggle that pits Foxwoods and the other casino planned for the waterfront, SugarHouse, against intractable state and local opposition. Even so, Rendell cautioned: 'There is nothing that is sure or certain here.'"

And Philadelphia metro reports: "Foxwoods would not reveal the sites it is considering, but said all of them are off the waterfront. Investors have already spent $170 million on the current location on South Columbus Boulevard at Reed Street, including the cost of the gaming license, but have yet to break ground because of the political stalemate."

 ... In Pittsburgh, a nasty winter could mean construction delays on the Majestic Star casino.

... Pennsylvania's own Penn National Gaming, as well as Harrah's, have been selected to operated two Kansas casinos. But that might not be enough for Penn:

"Penn could walk away from the Cherokee County deal. The company in recent weeks has pitched its 'southern strategy' to state officials, making it clear Penn wanted to operate in both the southeast and south central Kansas gambling zones, or none. ... 'We've got to digest this decision and discuss it with our board,' Penn spokesman Eric Schippers said Friday. 'We're clearly disappointed.'"

Odds and ends

Despite Atlantic City's  current slump, Pinnacle Gaming still wants to build a new casino there ... The Mohegan Sun in Connecticut is expanding ... More from the Trib on whether a high-ranking Pa. gaming board official should have taken a private sector gaming job so quickly, and whether doing so violates our gaming law ... Buffalo's casino, if allowed to continue operating, would threaten the city's hospitality industry, according to one professor from the area ... For sale: A riverboat casino in Indianapolis.  

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