New Legislation for Second Philadelphia Casino Introduced

by Kyle Miller

PhiladelphiaA new bill has been proposed that would allow for a second casino to be created in Philadelphia.

2017 has been a big year for the state of Pennsylvania. For months now, legislators have been debating how they can expand the gambling industry, from allowing online gambling to wagering in airports, video gaming terminals and more. The battle has waged on for some time now as the House and Senate cannot seem to agree as to what needs to take place. Now, a measure has come to light that proposes a new casino added to the Philadelphia area, another battle that has waged on for some time in the state.

What’s Going On?

Last month, the state Supreme Court told gaming regulators that they must continue to review the legalities surrounding the ownership structure of the Live! Hotel & Casino, a property proposed for the southern region of Philadelphia. The law of the state has restrictions in place for ownership stakes in regards to more than one gaming venue.

According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Gaming Control Board has to be able to figure out if Watche Manoukian would be in possession of more than 1/3 of the Live! venue. He currently owns around 85% of the Parx Casino, located nearby. It has been alleged that Manoukian hid his real stake in the project in order to have a hand in both venues.

Republican State Representative Scott Petri has proposed a measure that would see the rule lifted. Regulators are reportedy in agreement with the plan to change the law and see the second casino project move forward. Live! has been on hold for many years and would essentially be the 13th gaming venue for the state and the 5th in relation to its location near Philadelphia.

The gaming venue has a projected cost of $450 million and has been estimated to be able to bring as much as $300 million in annual gaming revenues. This would provide an additional 10% to the state via gaming, if the venue is allowed to be constructed and assuming that the area does not become oversaturated.

The plans are to create a gaming venue that would have two million feet of casino gaming space. There would be at least 2,000 slot machines and 100+ table games. This would be a large facility and will most likely see opponents who feel adding another gaming venue so close to others will cause problems such as other venues losing out to monies earned by the new casino as visitors would travel to it rather than their old casino stops.

Current Market

The gambling market of Pennsylvania has done quite well in recent years and the state is actually the second highest performer when considering gambling earnings across the United States. In 2016, gaming venues earned $3.2 billion from gamblers but this is only a slight increase of 1.2% when looking at totals as far back as 2012.

A legal challenge has faced the Live! project for some time with the SugarHouse Casino part of the lawsuit against the gaming venue plans. The SugarHouse venue is located within the city limits and feel they would be affected by a new casino being created.

Petri has stated that his proposal would see the ownership rule changed and it could be added to the omnibus gambling package that is currently being considered by legislators. The package includes online poker options so this could be a good thing for online gamers. The Live! issue needs to be resolved so if added to this plan, we might see several decisions made at one time.