New bet on casinos

Despite a poll this month showing residents think one casino is enough, a city official told state lawmakers on Thursday that Philadelphia wants and can support a second casino.

The state Gaming Oversight Committee held a hearing at City Hall on a bill that would award the revoked Foxwoods license through an auction for any site in the commonwealth. The state gaming board revoked Foxwoods’ license last December, but Foxwoods has appealed.

Alan Greenberger, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, said the city would likely fare better than a rural location.

“We share the ultimate goal of maximizing revenue to the state, and we believe the most likely location of a successful Category 2 casino is in Philadelphia where the largest concentration of population exists and where the economic benefit of new jobs is sorely needed.” he testified.

Greenberger even suggested that city officials be part of the site selection process to avoid the problems posed by the Foxwoods site. He recommended Market East to leverage development along the underwhelming corridor.

State Rep. Curt Schroeder, the committee chair and the bill’s sponsor, said he believes an auction is the fairest way to award the license. The state would also gain more revenue from operators bidding for the license.

“There’s too many influencing factors outside of, let’s say, the numbers or the merits that can come into play — political considerations, favoritism, different things like that,” Schroeder said. “Frankly we went down that road the first time around with these casinos. I don’t want to see that happen again.”

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