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SugarHouse seeks interim casino

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April 6, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - SugarHouse Casino said today it is seeking approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to open an interim casino in Philadelphia some time after April 1, 2010, or nine months from groundbreaking.

SugarHouse's original plan called for a $550 million casino offering up to 5,000 slots. The interim casino would operate 1,500 slots under a revised plan negotiated between the development group, HSP Gaming, and the Nutter administration. The casino will be shifted away from the river, "preserving the natural river's edge," SugarHouse said. The gaming floor and food-and-beverage facilities will be at street level instead of the second floor. There will also be pedestrian access to the riverfront and a multi-story parking garage for 3,000-plus cars.

Mayor Michael Nutter, who had been an early critic of the casino, gave the revised plan his blessing after it incorporated design changes sought by his administration.

"It is in all of our interests and the interests of the taxpayers to get this facility open as quickly as possible," Nutter said Monday. "The reason is quite simple construction and opening of this new casino will bring with it hundreds of much-needed jobs, and millions of dollars in revenue to the city of Philadelphia. There is always disagreement about any major development, but surely we can agree that now is the time when we desperately need these jobs and investment."

The interim facility would be part of the final casino. Its would create 500 construction jobs and 500 casino jobs. The full casino would create another 600 constructions jobs and 500-600 casino jobs.

HSP must now receive regulator approval and acquire the necessary permits.
Construction could start four months after the approval and would take nine months. The interim casino would then open in the second quarter of next year.

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