Three casino firms file plans for Pennsylvania gaming licenses

PHILADELPHIA -- Planet Hollywood and Harrahs filed separately for Pennsylvania gaming licenses. Gaming operator Pinnacle Entertainment also confirmed it filed for a license in the state.

Under regulations set forth by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, gaming firms had until Dec. 28 to submit applications for operating licenses.

In its application, a group affiliated with Planet Hollywood and the Pennsylvania Partnership Group revealed plans for a project called Riverwalk Casino. The project would be located on 11.5 acres of land leased from Philadelphia at Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden Streets.

According to the application, 51% of Riverwalk Casino would be owned and controlled by the Pennsylvania Partnership Group (PPG), which includes some of the regions most successful minority businessmen and women. BHM Gaming Opportunities, a group affiliated with Planet Hollywood, would partner with PPG, holding a minority stake in the project.

In a city where minorities make up more than 50% of the population, yet receive less than 2% of the citys contract opportunities, it is vitally important to advance the cause of minority entrepreneurship, said PPG Chairman Willie Johnson in a statement.

Plans for the $380 million casino project include more than 100,000 square feet of casino space with 3,000 slot machines, a 400-seat theater, a television studio, six restaurants, and a 3,000-space parking garage. The plan also calls for setting aside an additional 50,000 square feet space for a second phase expansion that would include an additional 2,000 slot machines.

Riverwalk Casino will redefine the currently planned gaming landscape in Philadelphia by combining the allure and excitement of celebrity and gaming with the best of Philadelphias diverse culture and interests, said Planet Hollywood Chairman Robert Earl.

Meanwhile, Forest City Enterprises and Harrahs Entertainment applied for a gaming license to operate a facility in Pittsburgh. Forest City and Harrahs said they planned to build a casino at Station Square in Pittsburgh with Harrahs developing and managing the casino.

Station Square is the right site for a variety of reasons, said Albert Ratner, co-chairman of the board at Forest City Enterprises in a statement. The property there is ready to go, which will save time and bring revenues to our city and state more quickly. Station Square is already a successful tourist destination, drawing more people than any place in western Pennsylvania. It is Pittsburghs place to play and the ideal location for a casino.

In addition, Pinnacle Entertainment, which operates gaming casinos in Las Vegas and Louisiana among other places, also confirmed it applied for a gaming license to develop a casino in Philadelphia encompassing 3,000 slot machines, several bars and restaurants and multiplex theater.

Long-term plans would include adding a hotel and expanding the casino to an additional 2,000 slot machines. Pinnacle said it expects phase one of the casino project to cost between $250 million and $400 million.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Michael Milligan at [email protected].

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