Cordish Given Two-Year Extension to Complete South Philly Casino

Pennsylvania gambling regulator gives South Philly casino project a two-year extension, allows sports betting at two more casinos

Developers of South Philadelphia’s second casino were given on Wednesday a two-year extension to complete the project and launch the property by December 2020. The announcement arrives shortly after it became known that Maryland-based The Cordish Companies would assume full ownership of the hotel and casino complex which would be located just outside the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

During a Wednesday hearing before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, developer Stadium Casino LLC said that demolition of the former Holiday Inn at 900 Packer Avenue is set to take place in December. The company bought the site where it would build its casino complex in early 2018. It then obtained a demolition permit in April and is now awaiting a building permit. Construction of the $700-million property is expected to begin early in 2019.

Joseph Weinberg, Managing Director of Stadium Casino, told the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that their vision for the project is “that it becomes part of what really would be one of the most unique sports/gaming/hospitality destinations in the country.”

Developers initially sought a three-year extension from gaming regulators. However, the state gaming board gave the nod to a two-year extension for the opening of the property. According to sources, the regulator believed that was a more “adequate deadline”.

Some board members voiced concerns about the project hitting unexpected roadblocks that could derail it further. Former state representative and board member Kathy M. Manderino said that as a Philadelphian, she has seen this project and similar ones fall apart and that she would be able to breathe a sigh of relief once the building permit for the casino is issued.

Years in the Making

What would be Philadelphia’s second casino has been a project years in the making. The state gaming board approved the construction of two casinos in Philadelphia back in 2006. SugarHouse Casino opened doors in 2010. However, the second project – Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia – never materialized as Foxwoods was not able to secure financing and had to surrender its gaming license.

In 2014, Stadium Casino, a joint venture between Cordish and Greenwood Gaming, was granted the second casino license. However, developers failed to move forward with their project and according to people familiar with the matter the implementation of the multimillion scheme was partly due to disagreements between the two companies, stemming from their different corporate cultures.

As mentioned earlier, Cordish is set to assume full ownership of Stadium Casino and the South Philadelphia casino project. The move is yet to be reviewed and approved by the gaming board.

Sports Betting Arrives at Two More Pennsylvania Casinos

In a separate round of developments, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board cleared the path Wednesday for Parx Casino in Bensalem and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia to launch sports betting. The board said yesterday that it expects both casinos to be able to hold two-day test runs with the regulator within the next several weeks.

Neither of the two casinos provided an exact date for launch of wagering. Parx has partnered with Sports Information Services Ltd. for the operation of its sportsbook, while RushStreet Interactive PALLC will run the sportsbook at SugarHouse.

Parx Casino is set to convert its 360 Lounge into a temporary sportsbook. The facility will feature seven betting windows and 12 self-service kiosks. Sugar House’s temporary sportsbook will be located next to the casino’s poker room. A permanent facility is set to open doors next year. The opening of the physical sportsbooks at the two casinos will be followed by the launch of online sports betting in the coming months.

Hollywood Casino was Pennsylvania’s first casino to go live with sports gambling. The property launched its sportsbook on November 15.

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