Tower Entertainment Drops Appeal for Second Philadelphia Casino License
January 27, 2015
Tower Entertainment pitched a project called Provence Resort & Casino, but lost the contest to Live! Hotel and Casino, a joint venture between Cordish Cos. and Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment.
After its unsuccessful bid, Tower alleged that an overlap in ownership between Live! and Parx Casino executives broke state law, rendering the decision null and void.
Now, the company has decided to pull its appeal to the Gaming Board, explaining that such a process would take too much time to play out. “This multi-year effort would result in The Provence properties at 400 N. Broad St. standing idle and unproductive for the foreseeable future,” the company told the Philadelphia press. “That result is unacceptable and this supremely located property is too important to sit fallow any longer.”
Lost confidence in Gaming Board
But while it may have chosen to cut its losses on the casino, Tower still had harsh words for regulators. “The Gaming Board has exhibited a total disregard for the fact-based findings of independent studies, the opinions of Philadelphia’s elected leadership, and the will of its citizens,” the company said. “Tower Entertainment has no confidence whatsoever in the ethical behavior of certain Gaming Board members and their relationships with certain lobbyists.”
Live! project under fire
The other two companies which lost out in the bidding process have filed challenges as well. Representatives for PHL Local Gaming stated that it was their opinion all along that the owners of Live! weren’t even eligible to participate. They believe that the decision to award the license to Cordish Cos. and Greenwood Gaming violates the state gaming act, which forbids monopolies.
The Gaming Board has also come under fire from existing Pennsylvania casinos, who believe that the state gambling market is already saturated. SugarHouse Casino, which is strongly opposed to the Live! project, has stated that a new casino in Philadelphia will only lead to cannibalization of current operators. It also claims that the board broke state law when it was forced to present substantial evidence to support its belief that the industry was saturated.
Tower, for its part, will now set it sites on redeveloping its prime property on North Broad Street, which it hopes will be a “catalyst for the rebirth” of the area. The iconic building in which the company had hoped to develop its casino once served as the offices for the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News.
Owner Bart Blatstein hopes to speak to the public about his beef with the gaming board soon, and is considering two ideas for his Broad and Callowhill properties. “We’re working through each of them now, and it’s going to be something great,” he said.