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Barden's Considered Serious Bidder for License

24 April 2006

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "When Don Barden came to Pittsburgh last week, he seemed like a long shot in his bid to secure the city's casino license. By the time he left, he had served notice that he wouldn't be treated as an afterthought.

"As state Gaming Control Board public hearings wrapped up Wednesday, Mr. Barden had positioned himself as a more serious threat to the two bidders that have commanded the most attention, Forest City Enterprises and Isle of Capri Casinos Inc.

"Of the three, the Detroit businessman, who operates five casinos, including one in Las Vegas, appeared to do the most to improve his bid's standing, at least in terms of public perception.

"Much of that had to do with timing. With the caginess of a poker player, he waited until the day before the hearings, months after his competitors had trotted out their proposals, to commit funding to a new arena and to unveil a $350 million plan to redevelop the lower Hill District.

"…Mr. Barden, head of PITG Gaming LLC, lined up just-retired Steelers star Jerome Bettis, who will lead a consortium on the Hill development, to counter the celebrity power of Steelers Hall of Famer Franco Harris for Forest City and the Penguins' Mario Lemieux for Isle of Capri.

"…In two days of hearings, Mr. Barden raised his public profile in Pittsburgh, where he had not done one news conference before last week. And he proved to be quick on his feet.

"… Mr. Barden's $1.1 billion bid includes a proposed $410 million Majestic Star casino to be built on the North Shore, west of Carnegie Science Center. He is pledging $7.5 million a year over 30 years under Gov. Ed Rendell's alternative Plan B for funding a new arena, plus a possible 300-room hotel…"

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