Updated 

Pennsylvania officials to hold January hearings on Wynn Philadelphia, five other resorts


Steve Wynn should know early next year if his Wynn Philadelphia project will be built.

William H. Ryan Jr., chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, has indicated the winning applicant for Philadelphia’s second casino license could be selected in March or early April.

In January, public hearings will be held to determine suitability for the six applicants, according to a research note by Bill Lerner, a principal with Las Vegas-based Union Gaming Research.

“The hearings will give applicants a chance to present to the board and make their case for why they should be awarded the license,” Lerner wrote. “It is possible losing bidders could appeal the board’s decision to the state Supreme Court, which could take roughly six months.”

The chairman of Wynn Resorts Ltd. proposes to build a 150,000-square-foot casino with 900 slot machines and 100 table games along with a 300-room hotel on about 60 acres of waterfront property.

Wynn Resorts has joined Tower Entertainment LLC, Market East Associates, PHL Local Gaming LLC, PA Gaming Ventures LLC and Stadium Casino LLC in the competition to build a second Philadelphia casino. The SugarHouse casino has been open in Philadelphia since 2010.

In the spring of 2010, the Las Vegas-based gaming company proposed building a $600 million casino in Philadelphia before pulling out.

Wynn Resorts also is building a $4 billion resort on the Cotai Strip in Macau. The company also proposes to build a $1.5 billion casino-resort at a former industrial site on the Mystic River in Massachusetts.

David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the Pennsylvania gaming market has definitely “tightened up.”

Gross revenue last month from slot machines at 12 casinos in Pennsylvania was $187.8 million, 6.3 percent lower than the $200.4 million in September 2012. As of Wednesday, the control board had not released table game revenue figures for September.

“After six years of really blockbuster growth, now it seems to have leveled off,” Schwartz said. “Remember, it went from zero to $3 billion. It could be because it’s a $3 billion industry.”

Schwartz said there is a “definite possibility” that a Wynn Resorts casino or another resort could expand the market. He said there was a similar feeling the Las Vegas market had leveled off in 1989, 1993 and 1998.

Wynn Resorts operates Wynn Las Vegas and Encore on the Strip and Wynn and Encore properties in Macau.

Shares of Wynn Resorts hit a new 52-week high Wednesday of $161.62, before closing at $161.35, a gain of $1.28, or 0.80 percent, on modest trading of 938,466 shares on the Nasdaq.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.

 

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