The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Tuesday that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board needs to take a closer look at Stadium L.L.C.’s ownership structure to determine if Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment’s Watche “Bob” Manoukian would have a more than 1/3 ownership interest in the city’s second casino as limited by law. The move came as a surprise and is seen as a win by competing interests who have long held the Live! Hotel & Casino Philadelphia license would violate state law.
Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment owns Parx Casino in Bensalem. Manoukian owns 85.84 percent of Parx. SugarHouse HSP Gaming L.L.P. and Market East Associates were unsuccessful bidders for the state’s final license in 2014 and appealed the Gaming Control Board’s approval of Stadium’s application based on the ‘monopoly clause’. SugarHouse runs the only other casino in the city.
Stadium Casino LLP is a joint venture between Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment and Cordish Cos. of Baltimore, operator of Maryland Live! Casino.
Opponents of the stadium area casino have alleged that Manoukian may have used accounting tricks to hide the full extent of his ownership in the project. The gambling control board denied a SugarHouse appeal one year ago in association with Market East Associates LP and Local Gaming LLC giving the companies 30 days to appeal to the State Supreme Court.
The Court didn’t issue a decision on the ownership claims Tuesday, but agreed that in light of multiple transactions, the board should vet the application more carefully.
The proposed $500 million project would be built in South Philadelphia at the corner of Packer Avenue & Darien Street. In early October the Philadelphia Planning Commission approved the project’s master plan, and later that month the City Council Rules Committee unanimously approved zoning for the casino.
The 100,000 sq. ft. casino would feature 2,000 slot machines and over 125 table games, dining, and entertainment facilities along with a 19 story boutique hotel and 7 story parking garage. The garage would have a landscaped rooftop and beer garden/entertainment venue. All told, the entertainment center would have about two million square feet of usable space. The location, in immediate proximity to the Philadelphia Sports Complex, would take advantage of more than 8 million visitors a year drawn to the area.