The state House of Representative have come to their conclusion and has approved the bill to hold a statewide auction to award the license that was previously taken away from the Foxwood Casino project in the area of South Philadelphia, but the measure of this is likely to go too far, and perhaps halt to a complete stop once it goes as far as the Senate. Earlier this week, the House took a vote, 140 to 48 to open the auction up for the coveted license that the casino would need anywhere in the state, the bidding started at $65 million. The state’s Gaming Control Board is going to have the final say over where and to whom the new casino is going to go to. If the bill was going to continue to stay on the table and gain legislative traction, it would result in Philadelphia losing all of their rights to a second casino under the state gaming law that was passed throughout the state in 2004.
One of the top Republicans in the Senate – more precisely, the one that controls the flow of legislation to the floor – is one of the more skeptical parties and not just of whether or not there is enough consumer demand for another casino in the area, but also if all signs are pointed towards a more saturated and lucrative market for gambling statewide. “We have to take a long-term look at the industry and its return to the state treasury,” Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware) said this week. “I think there is still an open question whether the commonwealth will benefit.” He was asked whether or not he believed that the bill would ever be brought this far to a floor vote between this point in time and when the legislature breaks for the summer, he only stated that “it was too soon to tell.”
Senator Vincent Hughes who is a Democrat opposed this house bill, but for an entirely different reason. He is just angry at in his belief is a thinly shielded attempt to circumvent the actual intent of the gaming law, which is going to require two licenses for casinos to be granted within Philadelphia. “They need to stop all the foolishness, and they need to start that process of putting that license in Philadelphia,” said Hughes, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. “The law requires it. I don’t know why people feel like they can ignore the law.”
Hughes also went on to state that if any area within the state, Philadelphia is the best choice to place a successful casino in that would keep on sending in the much needed revenue to the state in order to help decrease the amount of property tax bills that there are. The law actually directs that a portion of the slot machine proceeds should go to the property tax reliefs statewide and also to fight against the taxes throughout the city. The money from the casinos are also supposed to go to the economic development project and to tourism projects as well, among other incentives. “Stop getting in the way of extra property-tax relief for homeowners across the commonwealth,” said Hughes, arguing for keeping the license in the city. “Stop being a boil on the butt of progress.”