Wynn proposes majority share in Philly casino

Casino developer Steve Wynn addresses Pennsylvania state gambling regulators Wednesday in Harrisburg, Pa.
Casino developer Steve Wynn addresses Pennsylvania state gambling regulators Wednesday in Harrisburg, Pa. Associated Press

Casino operator Steve Wynn told Pennsylvania gaming regulators Wednesday that his Wynn Resorts Limited would own a 51 percent interest in the long-stalled Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia project, further limiting the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe's minority stake.

Wynn told the state Gaming Control Board, which met in Harrisburg, that the tribe, which owns the Foxwoods Development Co. as well as Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods, would become a 14 percent "passive minority investor" under Wynn's plan to take control of the project, Bloomberg News reported.

Wynn Resorts would provide about $250 million for the project, about 40 percent of the estimated $600 million cost, Wynn told the gaming board.

Asked about what could be the Mashantuckets' shrinking stake in the project, Bill Satti, a tribal spokesman, issued the following statement:

"Wynn Resorts is recognized around the globe as a premier developer of casino resorts. We are confident that its role in the Philadelphia waterfront casino project is a positive outcome for all parties involved."

Foxwoods Development representatives attended Wednesday's meeting, at which the gaming board gave the original developers - Foxwoods Development and a group of Philadelphia-based investors - until March 31 to submit a financing plan and until April 26 to submit construction and design details.

In January, the board ordered the group to explain the delays and financial troubles that have plagued the project since the board awarded a license in 2006.

Wynn Resorts announced last month that it had signed a letter of intent with the Foxwoods development group to take over the project as manager and managing general partner.

The 68-year-old Wynn has developed several landmark casinos in Las Vegas, including the Bellagio and Mirage. Wynn Resorts currently owns and operates Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, adjacent casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, and Wynn Macau, a hotel casino in China.

Wednesday's meeting of the gaming board was interrupted by anti-casino protesters who began heckling Wynn as he addressed the board. Police escorted about a dozen protesters from the meeting.

Wynn has said he's planning a "straightforward casino" rather than a resort. Speaking on a Wynn Resorts earnings conference call last week, he said he hopes to build a casino with restaurants beside the Delaware River, but no hotel.

Associated Press reports were included in this story.

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