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US – Cordish and Greenwood win Live! Philadelphia licence

By - 20 November 2014

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has awarded the final Category 2 gaming license in the City of Philadelphia to The Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, for their proposed Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia project.

The hotel, gaming and entertainment destination will be located on the site of the existing Stadium Holiday Inn at 900 Packer Avenue, on the corner of 9th and Darien Streets, in the heart of the Stadium District in South Philadelphia.

Joe Weinberg, Managing Partner, The Cordish Companies, said: “We’re very excited and honored to have been selected by the Gaming Control Board and thank them for their consideration during a very fair, transparent and thorough process. We look forward to working with State and local officials, Mayor Michael Nutter, and the entire community as we move forward with development of a true world-class destination that will attract people from throughout the region for a unique sports, dining, gaming and entertainment experience that can’t be found anywhere else in the country.”

Cordish and Greenwood have a track record of over-delivering on their developments, and fully intends to do so for this project. The Chairman of The Cordish Companies, David Cordish, stated: “We are very appreciative of the tremendous community support we have enjoyed on our proposal, and I can guarantee we will be excellent neighbors and corporate citizens for the City and State.”

Mr. Cordish added, “The State’s wisdom in allocating two licenses to the City of Philadelphia will be vindicated in numerous ways, not the least of which is that Live! Hotel & Casino will substantially grow the market for the entire region.”

Tony Ricci, Chief Executive Officer of Greenwood Gaming, added: “Greenwood Gaming has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the City and Commonwealth for many years. We look forward to creating another first-class casino destination that will generate hundreds of millions of new tax dollars and create thousands of new jobs for the region. The powerhouse combination of Greenwood Gaming and the Cordish Companies, who are the two dominant operators in the Mid-Atlantic region, will deliver a game-changing addition to the Philadelphia gaming market that complements and enhances the existing array of world-class amenities, while providing substantial benefit to the local community.”

Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia will include an approximately 200,000-square-foot facility with a Las Vegas-style casino floor, featuring 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games; an upscale 240-room boutique hotel; a new, approximately 2,500-space parking garage; local and nationally-recognized destination restaurants, and live entertainment venues. The project is immediately proximate to the Philadelphia Sports Complex, already a major tourist destination, drawing 8.5M visitors a year, including many from out-of-state. Ideally situated off Interstates 76 and 95, the property is positioned to become a true regional destination resort casino.

The Project will maximise visitation, both local and out-of-market, and generate approximately $400m in economic benefits during construction, including the creation of 3,000 direct and indirect jobs. Upon completion, the Project will create over 2,000 new direct and indirect jobs, attract 4m additional visitors to the market and generate over $400m per year in annual economic benefits. Live! Hotel & Casino is expected to generate Gross Gaming Revenues in excess of $300m per year, over $1.6B during its first five years of operation; which translates into State and Local Taxes in excess of $130m per year; approximately $700m during the Facility’s first five years.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has now awarded 13 licenses with 12 casinos in operation. Of those, there are six Category 1 licensed facilities at horse race tracks and four Category 2 stand alone casinos, all of which can operate up to 5,000 slot machines and 250 table games. In addition, two Category 3 casinos located at existing resorts are in operation. Those can operate a maximum of 600 slot machines and 50 table games. The Gaming Act permits one additional license at this time, to a qualified licensed harness race track. There is currently a holder of that license in Lawrence County which has submitted an application for that remaining license. There is no timetable for considering that award.

“This was a challenging decision involving four substantial proposals, but in the end we all felt that the Stadium Casino project best fit the intent of the Gaming Act and was best overall for Pennsylvania,” said Board Chairman William C. Ryan, Jr.

Under the Gaming Act, any party to the licensing proceedings would have 30 days from the date of the issuance of the Order and Adjudication to file an appeal of the Board’s decision to the State Supreme Court. The parties with standing would include all losing applicants in this licensing decision as well as any other party which was granted intervention in the proceedings.

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