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Pa. Casino Officials Hope To Make Decision on 2nd License For Phila. in Spring

(The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, in 2012 file photo.  Credit: KYW's Tony Romeo)

(The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, in 2012 file photo. Credit: KYW’s Tony Romeo)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The process for selecting who will get Philadelphia’s remaining casino license is hitting the home stretch.  The public comment period on the bids closes on the last day of the year, and anyone who wishes to weigh in has until 5pm tomorrow.

All the information is on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s web site.

“It’s important for those people who still wish to produce some public comment for us in the next couple days to take a look at these reports,” says spokesman Doug Harbach.

He says the board has been taking comments for many months and there is still time to submit your own comment via the site.

“We do come to a point where we need to close that and close the record on that, and that’s happening here at the end of the year so the board is in a position to hold the suitability hearings next month and then move forward into some time of decision,” Harbach tells KYW Newsradio.

Last Thursday the five casino license applicants submitted the final traffic management plans for their respective proposed sites, having a chance to respond to concerns that PGCB consultants raised after the initial traffic impact studies.

The three South Philadelphia proposals now include construction of a new on-ramp to the westbound Schuylkill Expressway at 7th Street, to alleviate congestion the casinos are expected to cause.  The two center city proposals call for timed traffic lights, new turn lanes, and the elimination of on-street parking in some places.

Harbach, the PGCB spokesman, says all that information is online at gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov.

“Our attempt is to try to be as transparent as possible with all the information that’s coming in here, so we can get information to our board from the public on any problems they still see with traffic issues around each of the five applicants,” Harbach says.

The suitability hearings — the final opportunity for the bidders to make their case — are scheduled for January 28th, 29th, and 30th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in center city.  They are open to the public, but not for public comment. Harbach says the board expects to take about sixty days after that to make a decision.