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Gaming board: Six apply for Philadelphia casino license

There was one surprise applicant and one that dropped out at the last minute.

Six groups applied for Philadelphia's second casino license Thursday, including a surprise last-minute entry and one that could give the city partial ownership, according to the state Gaming Control Board.

The surprise applicant, a group called PHL Local Gaming, proposed a site on Front Street near Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia. The group is headed up by produce businessman Joseph Procacci, according to CBS Philly. It did not submit a local impact report to the city on time, but the gaming board has not said what impact that would have on applications.

Penn National Gaming, which owns Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course outside of Harrisburg, said it may add the city as a partner at the site of the former Food Distribution Center on Packer Avenue or at a location it controls further west on Packer. The group has been in recent discussions with U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who championed the idea of a city-owned casino, state Sen. Anthony "Hardy Williams and City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.

By law, Penn National can only have one-third ownership in a second Pennsylvania casino. The company would pay for the license and construction and receive one-third of revenue, while the majority of proceeds would go towards the School District of Philadelphia and the underfunded municipal pension plan, according to the Daily News. The company has not reached a formal agreement on the plan.

Parkway Corp. CEO Robert Zuritsky pulled a plan for a casino at 15th and Race streets at the last minute. Zuritsky told the Inquirer the partners could not reach an agreement in time.

The other four applicants include:

> Developer Bart Blatstein of Tower Investments, who has pitched a $700 million resort and casino complex on North Broad Street at the site of the former Inquirer/Daily News building.

> Stadium Casino, a partnership between the owner of Parx Casino and The Cordish Co., has plans for a Live! Hotel and Casino at the site of the Holiday Inn on Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia.

> Steve Wynn, of Wynn Resorts, has proposed a project along the Delaware River on North Beach Street in Fishtown.

> A group called Market East Associates wants to build a casino at Eighth and Market streets on Market East.

The gaming board is expected to review the applications and hold a series of public hearings before making its final decision, which could take up to a year.

 
 
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