Sugarhouse co-owner sues to stop second casino license in Philadelphia
One of SugarHouse Casino's co-owners filed a lawsuit this week against the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to try blocking the government agency from reissuing a second casino license in Philadelphia.
The suit by RPRS Gaming, which holds a minority stake in Sugarhouse, claims the agency that oversees gambling in Pennsylvania does not have authority to "reissue" a license. The gaming board in 2010 revoked a license it awarded to Foxwoods in 2008.
The lawsuit's filing was first reported by the Inquirer earlier this afternoon.
"Nothing in the Gaming Act vests the Board with authority to 'reissue' a previously-issued license that the Board has revoked," the suit states. It notes that the 2004 Gaming Act only gave the gaming board "the specific power and duty ... to issue, approve, renew, revoke, suspend, condition or or deny issuance or renewal of slot machine licenses."
The suit also states the board already issued the two licenses for Philadelphia for which it is legislatively mandated.
Further evidence of the board's inability to reissue a license it has revoked, according to the filing, is in an attempt by the Legislature in 2009 to amend the Gaming Act when a state Senate committee approved an amendment giving the board the ability to "reissue the revoked Category 2 slot machine license to another applicant for a Category 2 licensed facility."
But that amendment was never enacted, according to the suit.
A gaming board spokesman said in a statement that the agency "is reviewing the claim asserted by persons holding a small interest in the Sugarhouse Casino. The Board will be responding to the petition and seeking the dismissal of the action as it believes the action to be without support in the law."
A spokesman for SugarHouse said none of the other co-owners of the casino could comment on the lawsuit because they too are named as co-defendants.
Co-owner HSP Gaming is also defendant in the lawsuit, which claims HSP Gaming could not reach a consensus on whether to challenge the board's ability to reissue a license for Philadelphia.
"Since the lawsuit names both the Gaming Board and the owner and operator of SugarHouse as defendants, we cannot comment on pending litigation," SugarHouse spokesman Jack Horner said in an emailed statement. "It’s our expectation this will have no impact on our operations or the approved SugarHouse Casino expansion."
Click here for complete coverage of the bid for a gaming license in downtown Philadelphia.