Philly Casino Lawsuit Dropped

The lawsuit challenging the award of the second Philadelphia casino license was dropped by current Philly licensee SugarHouse after the new Pennsylvania casino law rendered it moot. Construction will begin immediately on the “Live!” casino (l.) jointly owned by the Cordish Companies and Greenwood Gaming.

The owners of Philadelphia casino SugarHouse have dropped the lawsuit challenging the award of the second city casino license to Stadium Casino, after a portion of the gaming expansion bill signed into law last week rendered it moot.

SugarHouse filed its challenge based on questions surrounding the ownership stake in the new stadium-district casino hotel of London-based businessman Watche Manoukian, who has a majority stake in Greenwood Gaming, owner of Parx and, with Baltimore’s Cordish Companies, a partner in the new casino. The suit was based on the provision of Pennsylvania’s 2004 gaming law that forbade any party owning 85 percent or more of an existing casino from owning more than a one-third stake in a second casino.

A provision of the new gaming law—not without criticism for its pork-barrel nature—repeals the ownership restrictions of the 2004 law. A Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman told the Associated Press that the agency considers the matter closed, and the lawsuit was withdrawn as moot.

The clearing of the case removes the last obstacle that was delaying construction on the Stadium Casino project, to be called Philadelphia Live! in line with the national Cordish entertainment brand. The board reports that Live! will pay the $50 million fee for its slot machine license around November 15. The new casino, located near all the Philadelphia professional sports stadiums and arenas, will be adjacent to an existing hotel, a Holiday Inn that will be renovated and rebranded.