Could the idea of a Market Street casino be back on the table?
Mayor Nutter and his staff are still very much opposed to a casino on Columbus Boulevard at Reed Street in South Philly and are keen on a gaming hall on Market Street East in Center City near the expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center. Alan Greenberger, Nutter's deputy mayor for planning and economic development, told the state House Gaming Oversight Committee this morning that the administration would like the see a second casino in Philadelphia used to "leverage" a larger project such as a hotel near the Convention Center.
The committee was holding a hearing on legislation that would take a casino license in Philadelphia, revoked from investors at the South Philly location in December, and put it up for bid anywhere in the state except Pittsburgh, which already has one casino. The SugarHouse casino opened in Fishtown in September while the Foxwoods casino in South Philly was mired in delays before its license was revoked.
Greenberger stressed that the Nutter administration does not have a list of possible locations for the second casino if the license remains in Philadelphia, explaining that until December it thought the South Philly project would be built. He noted that the Nutter administration quickly drew up plans to help the Foxwoods casino when its investors considered moving the project to Market Street East. That attempted relocation caused great consternation in Chinatown, where residents staged several boisterous protests against the project.
After testifying, Greenberger said a hotel and casino near the Convention Center would "be a really great thing" because it would be a larger development than just a casino.
Paul Boni, a board member for Stop Predatory Gambling, told the committee that it should consider legislation to eliminate the second casino license rather than looking for a new place to put the project. Boni said a casino on Market Street East would be a "nightmare."