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Penn National seeks deal for Bader Field casino project

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January 29, 2008

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Penn National Gaming has offered a deal to buy the Bader Filed airport property for the purpose of building up to four new casinos.

They offered $800 million for the 150 acres of land and $100 million to Atlantic City as property tax relief. Penn plans to subdivide the land into four parcels with zoning for new casino sites. They would build their own casino on one of the parcels and sell the other three.

Last week the city appointed the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to serve as its redevelopment agent for Bader Field. In exchange the agency gave the city $25 million in urgently needed tax relief.

The executive director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Thomas D. Carver, called the Penn National Gaming proposal a "scam".

"It will take the city back years," he said. "It will almost preclude us from reaching the next level in terms of our evolution into an international resort destination. You will end up possibly, at best, with four grind joints out there, based on how they want to divide the land up."

Carver feels the $800 million offer from Penn National is below market value. He believes Bader Field is a prime casino development site and estimates it can sell for more than $1 billion. He further said representatives from three major casinos had interest in the property and each had phoned him with concerns about the Penn proposal. "Two of them said flat-out they won't participate in the process if it goes this way," he said.

Other casino operators interested in the site are known to include Wynn Resorts, Boyd Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment.

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