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Court lets Foxwoods' Philly license denial stand

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published April 03. 2012 4:00AM

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court will not review a decision upholding the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's revocation of a gaming license for the Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia project.

The court, in an order posted Friday, denied a "petition for allowance of appeal" filed by Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners, or PEDP, an investment group whose members include the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe's Foxwoods Development Co.

PEDP had asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, an intermediate appellate court. In November, the Commonwealth Court upheld the gaming control board's December 2010 revocation of the Foxwoods license.

William Ryan Jr., the gaming control board's chairman, issued a statement in the wake of the Supreme Court order.

"We are gratified that the court has recognized that the revocation of the license and the Commonwealth Court's action upholding the revocation did not raise issues mandating further review," he said. "We have been confident that the board's decision was proper and legal, a belief which has been ratified by this decision."

The board revoked the slot-machine license for Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia after investors in the project missed a series of deadlines for the submission of plans and financial information. While the Mashantuckets have been involved in the project from the start, they sought to minimize their contribution in recent years.

Casino heavyweights Wynn Resorts and then Caesars Entertainment belatedly surfaced as potential partners.

While the Foxwoods project foundered, another casino, SugarHouse, opened in Philadelphia in 2010. It, like Foxwoods, had been awarded a license in 2006.

The Philadelphia license originally issued for Foxwoods could now be awarded for a project in another location.

"We recognize that the legislature is discussing changes to the Gaming Act which may permit consideration of the placement of this fifth stand-alone casino at a location elsewhere in the Commonwealth," Ryan said. "It would be prudent and responsible for the board to allow a bit more time for that legislative process to unfold rather than immediately start a new licensing proceeding."

The Foxwoods investors paid a $50 million fee when their Philadelphia license was issued, a sum they apparently will forfeit. In addition, Foxwoods Development is fighting a lawfirm's claim that the company owes nearly $1 million in legal fees and costs related to its pursuit of the license.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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