Foxwood’s finding Philly funds hard to come by

Oct 20, 2009 2:54 AM


Like most U.S. casinos, Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut, once considered the most successful gaming facility in the world, has felt the impact of the economic downturn.

When business was better, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, owner of the Foxwoods Resort, decided to expand its gaming involvement and capitalize on its developing brand.

In a bid for a gambling license in Pennsylvania, Foxwoods won one of two slots licenses for the City of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, gaming opponents set up roadblocks for both the Foxwoods facility and that of the other licensee, SugarHouse Casino, whose plans would place the gambling houses on the banks of the Delaware River.

Now that Foxwoods is prepared to go forward with its project, its leadership has found that development money is hard to come by. Describing the search for cash as an "unanticipated new issue, a Foxwoods spokesman said the company is considering building a temporary facility rather than a full-fledged casino.

Opponents of the slots facilities say it doesn’t really matter because by the time the place becomes operational it will be at a distinct competitive disadvantage.

"Because saturation is already taking hold," said Jethro Heiko of Casino-Free Philadelphia, "it doesn’t matter if it’s interim or (permanent), there are already too many slots in the state."

Heiko was referring to competition from two nearby operating racinos: Philadelphia Park in Bensalem, north of the city, and Harrah’s in Chester to the south.

Three of the state’s nine operating slots parlors are in temporary facilities.