Thursday, August 10, 2017

More competition coming for Harrah's

At a time when Harrah's in Chester already is struggling with declining revenue - and the possibility of a wave of video gaming terminals being placed in local taverns and restaurants - this is probably not the news they wanted to hear.

There is more competition looming - and it's just a stone's throw up I-95.

The proposal for a new casino at the South Philly sports complex is back in the news. Yesterday the state Gaming Control Board approved the plan for Stadium Casino LLC's 'Live' casino and hotel in South Philadelphia. Yep, just about 15 minutes up I-95 from Harrah's.

Both city and county officials argued against granting the license to the South Philly spot.

They didn't win that war.

Now the state board has removed another obstacle, an appeal based on the fact that part owner Bob Manoukian will not own more than a third of the project. Manoukian plans to put the money into a trust fund for his sons, who will actually own the portion of the casino. Manoukian already owns 85 percent of Parx Casino in Bensalem. State law says that the primary owner of a casino cannot own more than 33.3 percent of another facility.

The gaming board originally picked the South Philly site back in November 2014, much to the chagrin of Delaware County and Chester officials who lined up against the plan, arguing it posed a serious threat to Harrah's in Chester. The casino bankrolls nearly a quarter of Chester's budget.

The folks at Sugar House Casino, on the water just a little farther up I-95 in the city, don't like the idea of a new gambling parlor at the sports complex either. They've been pushing the legal appeals.

The gaming board now will write what is referred to as an "adjudication" to explain their decision. At that point the matter could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

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