The 2004 state gambling law calls for two casinos to be located in Philadelphia, one of which is up and running. But after the Gaming Control Board revoked the second license for a long-stalled Foxwoods project in 2010, the Legislature had been considering whether to open up the license to applications that would put the casino elsewhere in the state. But legislative movement did not appear to be on the horizon, so the gaming board decided to put the second Philadelphia license up to bid, board chairman William Ryan said Wednesday.
"Since it appears that the General Assembly will not approve such a change in the foreseeable future," Ryan said in a statement, "the board believes that it is in the best interest of the people of Pennsylvania to proceed with the application process. "
The deadline for submission is Nov. 15. Ryan said, adding that the process may take nine months to a year from the deadline until the board is in a position to consider all the applications.
Sugarhouse Casino is operating in Philadelphia and has been a major financial success, so far. But the gambling board revoked the second Philadelphia license from a Foxwoods-led group in December 2010 after that project never got off the ground.
Eleven casinos are up and running in Pennsylvania, which legalized casino gambling in 2004. Four of those casinos are in the Philadelphia region: Sugarhouse in the city, Parx Casino in the northern suburbs, Harrah's Philadelphia in the southern suburb of Chester and Valley Forge Casino Resort to the west.
Last month, state Sen. Jane Earll, R-Erie, chair of the Community, Economic and Recreational Development committee, said legislators had not reached a consensus on what to do with the open Philadelphia license. Some wanted to keep it in Philadelphia, while others wanted to bid it statewide or kill it altogether, she said.