Corp., owner of the Tropicana casinos, is trying to craft
a deal to build a slots parlor near the proposed minor
league baseball stadium on the Agere Systems site in east
Allentown, according to sources who have talked with developers
and casino operators.
based in Phoenix, Ariz., is one of at least three casino
operators expected to apply for licenses to run a slots
parlor in the Lehigh Valley, now that the Pennsylvania
Gaming Control Board has agreed to start taking applications
those, Bethlehem developer Louis Pektor on Friday confirmed
he has a gambling partner who plans to apply to bring
slots to the Route 33 corridor.
date, only Las Vegas Sands Corp., owner of the Venetian
casino, has rolled out a plan for a slots parlor, but
Thursday's decision by the gaming board to begin taking
applications was like a shot opening the race to bring
gambling to the Lehigh Valley.
who thought there would be only one applicant in the Lehigh
Valley is in a fantasy world,'' said state Rep. T.J. Rooney,
D-Lehigh/Northampton. ''Including Tropicana's plans for
the Agere site, there will be at least three applications
and probably more. This is just getting started.''
this week, Las Vegas Sands officials complained that other
gambling operators with designs on the Valley were ''hiding
in the bushes.''
is expected to change, now that a window of Nov. 1 to
Dec. 28 has been set to apply for gaming licenses that
do not involve horse racing. But state Rep. Doug Reichley,
R-Lehigh, is urging Valley leaders to be patient before
backing any particular plan.
almost a foregone conclusion that the Lehigh Valley is
going to get a license, so this is going to be a major
regional decision,'' Reichley said. ''Before any of us
start throwing our support behind any plan, we owe it
to ourselves to view every plan.''
now, only Las Vegas Sands has made its plans known. Its
proposal calls for up to $879 million in development,
including a $350 million slots parlor and hotel complex,
a $200 million upscale mall, preservation of several Bethlehem
Steel buildings and up to 1,200 apartments.
Rooney said he's been told by Agere site developers that
Aztar is mapping out plans to build a slots parlor. The
complex would occupy the remaining portion of the site,
which is slated for a $34.3 million, 7,000-seat minor
league baseball stadium being developed by team owners
Craig Stein and Joseph Finley.
understanding is that Tropicana has an option for 30 acres
on the Agere site,'' Rooney said. ''Why they refuse to
come forth with their plans is beyond me. Eventually,
we will see all of these applications because this process
will be open.''
County Executive candidate Don Cunningham said he has
been approached by Aztar representatives who wanted his
support for their plans for a slots parlor in Allentown.
Executive Jane Ervin and Agere officials would not comment
on the matter.
officials in February said they were interested in locating
a slots parlor in the Lehigh Valley, but Friday would
not confirm specific plans for Allentown.
are excited about the possibilities in Pennsylvania,''
said Joe Cole, Aztar's vice president of corporate communications.
''We're looking at opportunities in that area, but have
nothing concrete to report.''
operates riverboat casinos in Missouri and Indiana, a
1,500-room hotel and casino outside Las Vegas, and its
flagship Atlantic City resort, which includes a 2,100-room
hotel and casino and a newly opened $285 million entertainment
center called The Quarter.
showed interest in Bethlehem at Route 412 and Interstate
78, but failed to make a formal bid.
the Bethlehem developer who made an unsuccessful bid to
buy Bethlehem land at Route 412 for a slots parlor complex,
said he has a new gambling partner and expects to file
an application for a license by the end of the year. He
plans to locate in the Route 33 corridor, but would not
reveal the exact location or casino operator.
Reichley, Pektor urged Valley residents to wait for all
of the applications to be filed before they begin rooting
for a winner.
this is all done, there will be other options. You can
count on that,'' Pektor said. ''I would hope people will
wait for all the applications before making up their minds.''