Neil Bluhm, to the rescue:
"Work on the $780 million casino on Pittsburgh's North Shore could resume as soon as Monday. That was the prediction of Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm and general contractor Dan Keating yesterday, after the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the transfer of Pittsburgh's slots license from Don Barden, who has had it since December 2006, to Mr. Bluhm and his partners at Walton Street Capital. The vote was unanimous, with board members fervently denying they had 'rushed to judgment' or succumbed to political pressure."
... Nope. No pressure at all. Just a friendly phone call from this guy:
"State Rep. Dwight Evans, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said today the Gaming Control Board's unanimous decision to allow Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm to take over the Pittsburgh casino project was critical for the future of the Southwest region and for the state. 'This was the right decision for Pittsburgh and for Pennsylvania,' said Evans, D-Phila., a staunch advocate of the casino project originally started by Don Barden, the only minority casino owner awarded a license thus far. 'The board's decision means Mr. Barden remains a key player in this new industry in Pennsylvania; it puts contractors back to work; and it insures the community will receive millions of dollars to invest for the neighborhoods. Most importantly, it means the state soon will drawing on those casino dollars so we can continue to provide property tax relief across the state.'"
Dispatches from the north ...
Centaur Inc. says that it has no intention of squashing its Lawrence County casino:
"In an e-mail release Thursday afternoon, Centaur spokeswoman Susan Kilkenny said the company has 'absolutely no intentions of withdrawing our gaming application,' in spite of reports published on the Debtwire Web site. Debtwire reported last week that Centaur's creditors were pressuring the company to drop its plans to build the Valley View Downs gambling facility in Mahoning Township and use what development funds it has to repay its creditors."
... and from the south
Maryland, pushing to legalize slots, says its racetracks can't survive without more gambling, and offers this as proof:
"A lack of incoming revenue has prompted the Maryland Jockey Club to suspend the schedule of fall stakes races at Laurel Park. The MJC made the announcement Aug. 6, agreeing with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association to put the Laurel Futurity, the Selima Stakes, the Grade III Safety Kept Stakes and the Frank J. De Francis Dash on hiatus. The prestigious De Francis Dash has a purse of $300,000."
Odds and ends
The Patriot-News weighs in on the new Orie-Fumo partnership ... Ohio state officials have settled on the final wording for a Nov. 4 ballot question asking residents if they want to build a casino ... Majestic Star Casinos saw its operating revenues decline, big time: "For the three months ended June 30, 2008, adjusted EBITDA was $15.5 million compared to $20.3 million for 2007, a decrease of approximately $4.8 million, or 23.4%. The adjusted EBITDA margin for the three months ended June 30, 2008 was 18.2% compared to 21.8% for 2007." (EBITDA means Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) ... Casinos everywhere are having a tough time buying debt.