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Harrah’s Moves To Take Over Foxwoods Project in South Philly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Harrah’s has signed on the dotted line, and is now ready to step in to salvage the long-delayed Foxwoods slots parlor project slated for South Philadelphia.

The local investors, who control the project, announced Tuesday morning that they have reached agreement with Harrah’s in which the casino firm will become both a minority investor and manager of the project.

The investors’ attorney, F. Warren Jacoby, was gratified to have what’s called a “term sheet” signed by Harrah’s:

“We feel pleased (and) vindicated.”

Harrah’s involvement is subject to the approval of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

In a statement, Harrah’s stressed that the term sheet is non-binding:

“This agreement in principle is contingent upon several conditions, including, but not limited to: the receipt of required regulatory approvals, the execution of definitive documents, and financing,” the statement said.

Separately, it remains to be seen how this development will affect that license revocation proceeding against Foxwoods, if at all. The staff of the gaming control board petitioned to revoke Foxwoods’ license in April, and a board spokesman says a previously scheduled hearing in that process is still on for Wednesday, October 27.

Jacoby hopes the board allows the project to move forward:

“We’re pleased and satisfied, and hope this result will cause the board to reconsider its complaint and to allow this deal to be consummated.”

He says the proximity of another Harrah’s gambling facility, in Chester, Pa., is not an issue for regulators, although under state law Harrah’s would have to be a minority investor in Foxwoods.

The SugarHouse casino opened on North Delaware Avenue last month, but the Foxwoods project has yet to put shovel into ground. First, the investors looked into relocating to Center City. Then, the original group expected to manage the project — the Mashantucket tribe — got into financial difficulties, which prompted the local investors to seek the help of casino mogul Steve Wynn.

Wynn abruptly pulled out last spring, and that led to negotiations with Harrah’s.

The investors say if the gaming control board approves the new investor, they hope to open the slots parlor in 2012.

Philadelphia City Councilman Frank DiCicco, whose 1st District includes the Foxwoods site, remains opposed to the project because of traffic issues and hopes that the gaming control board ultimately rejects Harrah’s involvement:

“It’s the worst possible site for the casino. I’m just totally confused as to how the gaming board will be able to justify giving the green light to this project when they have been in revocation proceedings for several months now, because the deal never went through in a timely manner.”

Reported by Mike Dunn and Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio.

File photo

  • Karen

    The jobs and revenue that can come from a 2nd casino in Philly can be gotten sooner if they come from a casino not at the Reed and Delaware location. The issue is the location. Move it and it can get up and running. Move the casino away from existing and thriving neighborhoods and businesses. Why on earth put a casino where it will destroy what is already there? Let the waterfront plan go forward – an excellent plan for Philly. And move the casino.

  • Pa. Gambling Board Weighs Last-Ditch Pitch By Foxwoods Group « CBS Philly – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of Philadelphia

    […] The local investors on Tuesday confirmed that Harrah’s has agreed to step in and try to rescue the project (see related story). […]

  • jack markowitz

    Philly needs the jobs and tax revenue that this project will provide. People need to work and provide for their families and Philly needs the tax revenue. Great real people we need the jobs!

  • j palmer

    A bad deal gets even worse

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