Casino mogul Steve Wynn has inserted himself back into Philly’s casino racket. The Inky reports that the Penn grad (class of ’63) announced yesterday that he’s throwing his hat back in the ring for the city’s second, and most elusive, casino license. You’ll recall that before the Foxwoods proposed casino project in South Philly completely disintegrated, Wynn threw it a lifeline in the form of a promise to build and operate “the cutest casino you’ve ever seen” on South Columbus Boulevard. And then, just as quickly as he entered the fray, he pulled back, and withdrew from the deal. Now he’s eyeing a “delicious” 60 acre site located on the banks of the Delaware River in Fishtown.
It’s the third bid to emerge in recent weeks for the still up in the air casino license. Piazza developer Bart Blatstein has his Provence plan for the former Inquirer and Daily News site on North Broad Street. And a partnership between Parx Casino and Xfinity Live! overlords announced last week that they would like to transform the Holiday Inn on Packer Ave. near the sports complex into a sprawling gambling, live music and entertainment zone. At least three more proposals are expected to emerge before the state’s Gaming Control Board’s set deadline next week. One of which the Daily News reports is called GamePoint, and would bring a casino, hotel, nightclub and concert hall to the city-owned site of the old Food Distribution Center.
Who knows which one will get the golden ticket. Seems like the Wynn-backed plan is a long shot. The site is just a stone’s throw from Philly’s existing SugarHouse casino, and if appointed with worthy restaurants and bars, would likely cannibalize the not-so-cute casino to the south. Blatstein’s plan faces too much opposition from neighbors in communities surrounding the Broad and Callowhill site. And the one targeting the Food Distribution, which has the approval of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, doesn’t have the support of Mayor Michael Nutter. If we had to put money on it, we’d say the Holiday Inn plan has the best potential for scoring the license.