Issue 277
January 2, 2006 - January 8, 2006
Volume 6
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News

Casino City's January Sweepstakes

Gaming giants in A.C. bet big on Pa.

Pennsylvania Partnership Group and Planet Hollywood Affiliate File for Gaming License

Boyd Gaming Opens South Coast Hotel and Casino

Tribe plans to expand casino 

Show Time Elton John performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Column A Six-Pack in the Casino? By Elliot Frome.

Check out our entertainment highlights & upcoming tournaments

See the lucky winners

 

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Gaming giants in A.C. bet big on Pa.
As reported by Press of Atlantic City

PENNSYLVANIA - They lack the sizzle of the Strip and the bustle of the Boardwalk. Certainly no one will ever confuse Allentown, Limerick or Chester, Pa., with Las Vegas or Atlantic City.

But some of the giants of the casino business are betting that those towns could be the next hot spots of the gambling scene.

Rushing to meet the deadline, four of the six companies that control Atlantic City's 12 casinos have filed applications for slot parlor licenses in Pennsylvania's nascent gaming market.

Boyd Gaming Corp., owner of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, wants to build a $325 million gaming complex in Limerick Township, about 35 northwest of Philadelphia.

Aztar Corp., parent company of Tropicana Casino and Resort, is looking to develop a $325 million gambling facility in the Lehigh Valley community of Allentown.

Harrah's Entertainment Inc., the world's largest gaming company and owner of four Atlantic City casinos, has plans for a horse racing track and slots parlor in Chester.

Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., operator of three Atlantic City casinos, has proposed a $350 million slots parlor at a former industrial site in Philadelphia's Nicetown section.

Pennsylvania has authorized a total of 14 gaming licenses across the state - seven for horseracing tracks, two at resorts and five for stand-alone slot parlors, including two in Philadelphia. Gambling is expected to begin in 2006 or 2007.

Trump, Boyd, Aztar and Harrah's are just a few of the companies vying for Pennsylvania gaming licenses. A complete list of the would-be casino operators is expected to be released next week by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, although Wednesday was the deadline for submitting license applications.

It will take Pennsylvania authorities months to review the voluminous applications. The applications include sensitive information about the individuals and corporations involved in the proposed casino projects, including financial statements, tax returns, pension plans, former business ventures and a disclosure of any criminal history.

"It's a comprehensive investigation of the suitability to hold a gaming license, both at a personal and an entity level," said Nick Hays, a spokesman for the gaming board.

Hays noted that it will be next summer at the earliest before the board begins awarding licenses for the racetrack casinos. Sometime later, licenses will be approved for stand-alone slot parlors and the resort locations.

Atlantic City casino operators once feared the additional competition posed by Pennsylvania, but they now view Philadelphia and the surrounding market as an opportunity to expand their holdings.

"We believe we've identified an excellent location to conveniently serve a large, growing population with a first-rate gaming operation," said Rob Stillwell, a spokesman for Boyd Gaming.

Stillwell added that Boyd doesn't believe that its proposed Limerick site or any other Pennsylvania slots parlor would hurt Borgata's customer base in Atlantic City.

"Atlantic City is evolving into a destination," he said. "In Pennsylvania, you're talking about very specific projects scattered in strategic locations throughout Pennsylvania. None are going to be full-scale, Las Vegas-style resorts like Borgata is."

Aztar hopes its proposed Allentown slots parlor will give more Pennsylvania gamblers a taste of the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City. Allentown's design will draw on the colorful theme of Tropicana's Old Havana-style retail and entertainment complex, named The Quarter.

Trump Entertainment would extend the Trump brand into the Philadelphia market with its proposed slots parlor at the former Budd Co. manufacturing site in the Nicetown section. The project, dubbed the TrumpStreet Casino and Entertainment Complex, would capitalize on casino mogul Donald Trump's famous name.

James B. Perry, president and chief executive officer of Trump Entertainment, said Philadelphia is part of the company's strategic plan to diversify outside of Atlantic City.

"We are currently investigating numerous options to grow the company and build on the strength of the Trump brand," Perry said in a statement. "TrumpStreet represents a tremendous opportunity for us to participate in a significant project to create value for our shareholders."

Trump's project includes a partnership with a local investment group comprised of former Philadelphia 76ers President Pat Croce, the members of the R&B group Boyz II Men and restaurant owner Pete Ciarrocchi of the Chickie's & Pete's chain in Philadelphia.

Releasing an architectural rendering and more details about the project Wednesday, Trump Entertainment said the gaming site would include 3,000 slot machines, a three-theater movieplex, retail shops and a variety of restaurants and entertainment attractions featuring a Philadelphia flavor.

"TrumpStreet is designed to be an entertainment destination that is a tribute to the rich culture of the City of Philadelphia," Croce said in a statement.

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