Wynn exits Foxwoods Philly project

John Minick/AP File photo Casino developer Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn and the Mashantucket Pequots won't be partners after all.

The Las Vegas gaming mogul's Wynn Resorts Ltd. announced Thursday that it has withdrawn from the Philadelphia casino project whose partners include the tribe that owns Foxwoods Resort Casino and MGM Grand at Foxwoods.

In a two-paragraph statement released late in the afternoon, Wynn Resorts said it had "terminated all agreements and negotiations with respect to a potential investment in the Foxwoods Casino project in Philadelphia."

"We are fascinated by the legalization of full gaming in Pennsylvania and stimulated by the opportunity that it presents for Wynn Resorts," Wynn said, "but this particular project did not, in the end, present an opportunity that was appropriate for our company."

The news came as a surprise, given that Wynn had seemed especially committed to the project in recent days. He discussed his plans Monday with Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and on Tuesday had submitted renderings and financial information to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's investigative division, according to Richard McGarvey, a spokesman for the board.

"We were made aware of them pulling out (of the project) at around 4 p.m.," McGarvey said.

A spokeswoman for Wynn in Philadelphia said she could not elaborate on the withdrawal, and Gary Armentrout, president of the Foxwoods Development Co., the Mashantucket tribe's development arm, also declined to comment.

In March, Wynn told the gaming board that Wynn Resorts would own a 51 percent interest in the Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia project, limiting the Mashantuckets' stake to about 14 percent and that of other members of Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners, or PEDP, to about 35 percent.

Weeks earlier, Wynn Resorts announced it had entered into an agreement with PEDP to take control of the long-stalled project.

Foxwoods Development obtained a license to build a casino on the Delaware River in South Philadelphia in 2006. Last September, the gaming board granted an extension of Foxwoods' license, imposing a series of deadlines for the submission of plans and financial information. It later began fining the developers $2,000 a day for failing to meet one of those deadlines.

The material Wynn submitted this week wasn't due until April 26. He was expected to appear before the gaming board April 29 to discuss the project.

Pennsylvania, home to nine slots parlors, some located at racetracks, legalized table games in January.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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