Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Penn National Gaming's Hollywood Casino

Penn National calls its proposed Hollywood Philadelphia casino, with its unusual ownership structure, unlike any other casino in the country.

Penn National Gaming's Hollywood Casino

The Hollywood Casino Philadelphia as proposed by Penn National, in which some revenue would flow to the city. (Source: Penn National Gaming Inc.)
The Hollywood Casino Philadelphia as proposed by Penn National, in which some revenue would flow to the city. (Source: Penn National Gaming Inc.)

     Penn National Gaming, the Reading-based operator of 29 casinos including the Hollywood brand, waited for the last ten minutes of its 50-minute presentation to talk about the most unique aspect of its proposal.
    Spending the lion’s share of its pitch touting its corporate record, Penn National told the gaming board that a nonprofit called Philadelphia Casino Benefit Corp. would control two-thirds of the project – and get two-thirds of “free cash flow,” said Steve Snyder, a senior vice president of corporate development for Penn National.
    The nonprofit, with seven directors, would dedicate that money to city schools and the municipal pension fund.
    “Necessity is the mother of creation,” Snyder said.
    By law, Penn National, which runs the Hollywood Casino in Grantville, cannot own more than a third of a second casino in Pennsylvania.
    Some of the highlights of the Penn National presentation:

  • No mention of the group’s earlier desire to get a bigger and better parcel at 3d and Packer, controlled by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. The group will have to stay put at its smaller site at 700 Packer Avenue.
  • None of the traffic in and out of the project would pass through residential neighborhoods.
  • Casino would feature a sports bar overlooking the gaming floor and a 500-room hotel would not be built until second phase.

    Snyder said the ownership structure is “unique in the United States of America.”
    He quoted from a report from the City Controller that over 15 years, the project could generate $115 million for schools and the city pension -- but omitted the controller’s finding that for the first eight years, the share would be only $16 million.

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