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What is enough time to build a Casino?

Opinion

By Greg Van Gompel

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Since then, the process has taken enough twists and turns to be its own roller-coaster ride.

In September 2009, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board granted a two-year extension of the casino license for the project, ordering that the project be built as originally proposed at a South Philadelphia site on the Delaware River. The extension called for a temporary facility with 1, 500 slot machines to be up and running by May 29, 2011. Originally, plans called for an initial $670 million phase of the project to include 3, 000 slots. Failure to meet earlier deadlines in the process currently cost investors $2, 000 a day in fines since December 1, 2009.

After the gaming board on April 29th rejected PEDP’s request for another six months to secure financing, a mere three weeks after casino mogul Steve Wynn withdrew from the project, the investigative division of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board petitioned the board to revoke the slot-machine license.  A complaint filed by Cyrus Pitre, chief counsel for the division, asserts that PEDP "has no funds, no prospects of funding, and no viable alternative plan to construct the facility for which it was licensed by the Board." The Foxwoods investors had 30 days to respond to the petition, so on Thursday, May 13, 2010, PEDP asked that the deadline be pushed back to July 1, noting that this was the first time the gaming board has tried to revoke a license since the state legalized gambling in 2004.

In a motion filed with the Gaming Control Board, PEDP argued that it "has only limited guidance as to matters of procedure and substance as it prepares its defense." Lawyers for PEDP said that given "the gravity of the ultimate sanction" and "the substantial investment and efforts of PEDP in this project, " they needed adequate time to prepare a response to the gaming board’s complaint. "PEDP does not anticipate being able to do so by June 1, 2010, " stated the filing. On May 19th, the board denied PEDP’s request for more time.

Late in the afternoon of June 1, 2010, PEDP timely filed a response to the petition but no details of PEDP’s response were immediately available.  A spokesman for the gaming board said the board will determine whether a hearing on the appeal would still be necessary.  Keep yourself strapped in for further details on this ride.

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