Legislators Push To Move Casinos To Airport

State Sen. Vince Fumo

State Sen. Vince Fumo and state representatives Mike O'Brien and Bill Keller are once again pushing for two controversial casinos proposed for the Delaware riverfront to be moved to new locations.  They plan to introduce legislation -- click here to read it and here to read a press release about it -- that would have the state Gaming Control Board hold hearings to listen to the developers of the two casinos, Foxwoods in South Philly and SugarHouse in Fishtown, along with state and local officials and neighborhood civic associations.  The board would then issue a report on alternative casino locations.

That would duplicate hearings the Gaming Control Board held in 2006 when considering five applicants for two licenses to build casinos in Philadelphia.  The state gaming law currently says only Foxwoods and SugarHouse can request moving their locations and the Gaming Control Board has to make the call.  And therein lies the problem for this new proposed legislation -- the developers have repeatedly said and confirmed again today that they have no interest in moving.

The legislative trio say they're trying to end the "standoff" that has slowed casino construction here. They suggest moving the casinos to locations near the Philadelphia International Airport.  That brings up another problem:  the state gaming law also says a casino in Philadelphia can't be built within 10 miles of another casino built at a horse racing track.  Harrah's Chester Downs, the Delaware County race track and casino, is less then 10 miles from the airport. The proposed legislation would lift the 10-mile restriction.