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Wynn Resorts to operate Philadelphia casino

24 February 2010

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Wynn Resorts Ltd. announced a deal Tuesday to operate a planned casino in Philadelphia.

The company reached an agreement with Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners in which Wynn will become the manager and managing general partner in a casino project.

The project was originally called Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia because the partnership included the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which operates the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut.

However, the project had been delayed because Foxwoods was unable to complete the financing for the resort.

In January, Pennsylvania gaming regulators told the partnership it had until March 3 to come up with a new design and financing or else it could lose the license for the 16-acre waterfront casino site in south Philadelphia.

Details of the agreement were not been made public but Wynn Resorts is expected to manage the casino and control more than 51 percent of the investment, sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The agreement, which is subject to approval by the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, would give Wynn Resorts Chairman Steve Wynn his first East Coast gaming venture since he sold the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City in the 1980s.

In the past year, Wynn had bid to operate a planned casino at the Aqueduct Race Track in New York City, and was rumored to be exploring possible Atlantic City opportunities.

"We're pretty sure he was looking at parts of Pennsylvania as well," Union Gaming Group principal Bill Lerner said. "He's wanted to plant a flag on the East Coast for some time and Philadelphia is an important feeder market to Las Vegas."

Foxwoods had originally budgeted $670 million for the project, which had been expected to include a 3,000-slot machine casino, restaurants and other entertainment options. Since the original plans were announced, Pennsylvania approved table games for casinos.

Under the original arrangement, local investors had 70 percent of the project, with the Connecticut tribe, controlling the rest of the development.

Local investors include the family charities of three Philadelphia investors: sports team owner Lewis Katz; developer Ron Rubin; and Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider.

Wynn Resorts to operate Philadelphia casino is republished from