Sugarhouse abandons lawsuit against planned Philadelphia casino near city's stadiums

PA’s New Gaming Law Paves Way For Philly Live! Casino, And Another Online Gambling License

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Tipping the scales at a whopping 900 pages, the new gaming law in Pennsylvania had a lot to unpack.

From online gambling and lottery, to daily fantasy sports, to satellite casinos, to video gaming terminals at truck stops, to tablet gaming at airports, Pennsylvania’s new law represents one of the biggest expansions of gaming in modern history.

The bill is so sweeping that some of its impacts are only now coming to light.

The latest example: The Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia, first approved back in 2014 but held up by lawsuits, is now cleared for construction thanks to provisions in the gaming law.


Pennsylvania’s new gaming law paved the way

Two provisions in the new law put an end to SugarHouse Casino‘s (owned by Rush Street Gaming) ongoing lawsuit. A Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman told the AP, “the agency considers the matter over and the casino cleared for construction.”

Per the AP:

“A gambling expansion bill signed Monday by Gov. Tom Wolf repeals a 2004 provision limiting ownership of casinos, a key element of SugarHouse lawsuit. Another provision punishes casino entities with active lawsuits.”

The Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia will be owned and operated by Cordish Company and Greenwood Racing. The latter owns Parx Casino, which as the AP notes, was a key part of the SugarHouse lawsuit.

SugarHouse’s argument ended with the repeal of the ownership language, with the possibility of being punished for having an active lawsuit assuring the casino would drop its compliant.

With the casino getting the green light, the state will receive a $50 million windfall when Philly Live! hands over a check for the slot license.

According to the Associated Press, that could happen later this month.

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PA online gambling implications

Because of the way Pennsylvania’s online gambling law is structured, with one slot, table game and poker license available for each slot licensee in the state, as soon as Philly Live! pays the fee for its slot license, the number of online gambling licenses in Pennsylvania will increase.

There’s a very good chance the new casino will apply for the license.

Because of its presence in multiple states, Cordish Company was already on Online Poker Report‘s radar for online gambling. In addition to its Philly casino project, the company operates the Maryland Live! Casino and two Seminole Hard Rock Casinos in Florida, as well as some non-gaming assets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey:

  • Atlantic City Outlets (Atlantic City)
  • The Walk (Atlantic City)
  • Xfinity Live! (Philadelphia)

With its Philadelphia casino back on track, its partnership with Parx’s owners, and the legalization of online gambling in PA, Cordish is likely to jump at the opportunity to offer iGaming.

Further, if an interstate agreement is reached between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Cordish might be even more inclined to follow in rival SugarHouse’s shoes and partner with an Atlantic City casino.

- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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