With the current economic crisis, the controversial casino projects in Philadelphia have been dealt a tough hand.
Although Pennsylvania’s Gaming Control Board recently granted Foxwoods Development Company an extended gaming license in late August, a continuous wave of protestors as well as monetary issues continue to hinder the future construction of their casino.
After three years of back-and-forth changes in possible locations, their casino is slated to open on the original site of Columbus Boulevard in May 2011, under the demands of the gaming board. The other previous possible location was the Gallery at Market East.
“[Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners] is fully committed to following the direction of the Board and will now fully focus our efforts on delivering a first-class casino on South Columbus Boulevard under the prescribed conditions — including engaging the local community,” Foxwoods spokeswoman Maureen Garrity wrote in an e-mail.
At the same time, though, anti-casino protestors are again incensed.
“These casinos have no business in any of our communities,” said Jethro Heiko, founder of Casino-Free Philadelphia.
On Tuesday, Heiko held a meeting at his home to discuss options for community members to get involved in the campaign against casinos.
Thus far, Casino-Free Philadelphia has placed a wedge in Foxwoods Development Company by staging protests since the possibility of casinos arose three years ago.
“Casinos are the worst example of the old economy which we need to put behind us,” Heiko said.
He added that the casino industry spurs a negative city-wide impact because it focuses on “speculation.”
“Rather than generating wealth, it extrapolates from the community,” he said.
And with the current economic crisis, Foxwoods’ unlucky streak may continue. The Columbus Boulevard site is a slightly more expensive location, forcing already-weary investors to contribute even more to the project.
Plus, the credit of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, who runs the Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Conn., has been branded as being on “credit watch” by Standard & Poor’s rating system, which means that they are on the brink of default.
For these reasons, they are not able to pump more capital into the Philadelphia endeavor. Foxwoods Development Company, however, maintains confidence.
“From observing the reaction of the financial markets to the fundraising efforts of SugarHouse, we believe there will be a great deal of appetite for the investment and/or lending of funds for the development of our casino,” Garrity wrote.
SugarHouse, another casino company that is facing economic problems, was recently promised additional funds from HSP Gaming in order to continue to move along construction.
SugarHouse officials did not return calls for comment.Comments powered by Disqus
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