Wynn Drops PA Casino Plan, Citing NY Expansion

With big plans to build one of his signature bronze curtain glass casinos in Philadelphia, Steve Wynn earlier this year was touting the ability of new casino development in Philadelphia as having the ability to bring back a lost standard of glitzy, luxurious urban casino resorts.

That vision is apparently not going to come to pass, at least not in the City of Brotherly Love. This week news broke that Wynn has withdrawn its application for the only casino license up for grabs in Philadelphia.

The company pointed to last week’s passage of a constitutional amendment in nearby New York that allows for expanded land-based casino gambling as the reason for its vacating its Philadelphia plans.

New York casino expansion approval motivating factor

“The board took a host of factors into consideration, including the Philadelphia market performance over the past year and the competition which will result from the recent approval of gaming,” in New York, read a statement released by the Wynn Company this week.

“The board has decided that the best course for the company is to pursue business opportunities elsewhere,” the press release continued.

Last Tuesday’s election saw the passage of a constitutional amendment in the Empire State that will allow for the eventual construction of seven new land-based casino resorts, with the first four slated to be built in upstate New York. Properties in the New York City metropolitan area are to follow within the next seven years.

While casino development in New York is expected to downwardly affect revenue in Pennsylvania, it is predicted to do much more damage in already-struggling Atlantic City, a gambling destination that has long drawn much of its tourist base from the New York City region.

Wynn was planning to develop its new resort in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown, which saw its first casino, SugarHouse, open in 2010. Though Pennsylvania gaming revenue appears to have leveled off this year, last year Pennsylvania attained the status of the second-largest gambling market in the United States, in part because of the success of SugarHouse, a property that has been able to effectively lure casino patrons from Atlantic City, only about an hour’s drive away.

Company still in the running for Boston casino

Despite its exit from the competition in Pennsylvania, Wynn is still very much in the running for the lone casino license that Massachusetts gaming officials will issue early next year for the Boston area.

Wynn has proposed building a new casino resort along the Mystic River in the city of Everett, bordering Boston, on a polluted parcel of land that once housed a Monsanto chemical plant. Wynn has promised not only to build the finest hotel in the city of Boston, but has also vowed to clean up the contaminated site.

After last month’s retreat from Massachusetts by Caesars in the wake of suitability investigations by Massachusetts regulators that turned up organized crime ties to a Caesars investor, Suffolk Downs, the former partner of Caesars in a plan to build a casino in East Boston, lost a public referendum.

That loss eliminated the major competition for Wynn in Boston, though it is worth noting that Wynn has yet to pass background checks in Massachusetts, where the licensing process has been described as being among the most stringent in the nation. Massachusetts gaming regulators will be awarding three casino licenses in 2014 – one for a slots only gambling parlor and two for Las Vegas-style casino resorts, one in Boston and one for the western region of the state.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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