Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has given the green light to the proposed second casino and hotel in South Philadelphia – a project that has been on hold for about four years now. With a unanimous vote of 7 to 0, the state’s gaming regulatory body ruled in favour of Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia.
The permission brings an end of the lawsuit filed by other interested parties against the owners of the Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia, challenging their ownership rules. The lawsuit was filed by SugarHouse Casino and Market East Associates, as the latter accused the casino it would allow one of its major investors, Watche “Bob” Manoukian, to hold a state larger than the controlling interest limit of 33.3%.
Based on the evidence and testimony given by Manoukian at the end of July, there was no violation of the state’s rules, which gave the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board grounds to rule in his favour.
The long-awaited decision of the Board clears another hurdle for the casino, ruling that the applicants are in line with the state limits of ownership of a number of casinos. It comes after state’s Supreme Court had ordered a close review of the situation and initiated a check to make sure that the owner of the project is actually in line with state’s limits on ownership stakes for a second casino.
Stadium Casino LLC, which is the owner of the casino project, was chosen by the Gaming Control Board in November 2014 as the winner in the competition for a second casino in Philadelphia, a decision that put a tap on a long-running court challenge. Since then, a court battle has been initiated by other interested parties claiming that the project’s owner violated the state law.
As mentioned above, in June 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sent the case back to the state’s gambling regulatory body for another hearing aimed at making sure that the ownership of the casino project is not breaching any rules. This was the second time when the Stadium Casino’s license for the project was brought back to the Board for further consideration.
Eventually, the Gaming Control Board confirmed its that the financial structure of Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia is legit. An appeal can be filed in 30 days, and all the project needs now in order for the construction work to finally begin, is final approval from the state’s Gaming Board.
At the same time, the state of Pennsylvania has been facing some criticism as the local legislature once again put off its long-awaited online gaming expansion. As Casino Guardian reported earlier this week, the state put on hold the discussions over the proposed gambling expansion bill.
Despite the fact that versions of the proposed gambling expansion bill were passed by both Pennsylvania House and Senate, the attempt for implementation of a new gambling bill that would help the ailing state fill at least some part of the $2-billion hole in its budget. If successful, the bill would have made legal various forms of iGaming, including online lotteries and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Unfortunately, the state legislature chose to shelve the proposed gambling expansion until the autumn, with hopes still alive that the next session will see the long-discussed expansion finally resolved.