Blatstein has new operator for proposed Broad Street casino

Posted: February 02, 2013

Developer Bart Blatstein has a new operator for his proposed casino complex on North Broad Street, replacing the Hard Rock Casino organization with the Isle of Capri.

Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. is a St. Louis-based public company that operates 15 casinos in six states in the South and Midwest.

In Pennsylvania, the company has been approved to operate the Lady Luck Casino under construction at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.

Blatstein, founder of Tower Investments, said he had high regard for Hard Rock Resort & Casino International, owned by the 1,800-member Seminole tribe of Florida.

But he said the size of the tribe made it difficult to move quickly enough to meet the demands of the licensing process in Pennsylvania.

"It wasn't practical that we could accomplish all that we had to in the time frame we have," Blatstein said.

Six groups have applied for the right to operate Philadelphia's second casino.

Blatstein wants to use the former headquarters of The Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News at 400 N. Broad as the anchor for a three-block, $700 million entertainment development.

The casino would be called the Provence and be part of a retailing, dining, hotel and entertainment complex stretching from Broad to 16th Streets on Callowhill.

Virginia McDowell, chief executive of Isle of Capri and a Philadelphia native, said the project was "a truly unique opportunity for my home city."

In addition to Blatstein's proposal, the other groups include three projects along Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia - Live! Hotel and Casino, Hollywood Philadelphia and Casino Revolution - the Wynn Philadelphia on the Delaware River in Fishtown, and Market East Associates in Center City.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will conduct a hearing on Feb. 12 at the Convention Center to give each group a chance to publicly present its projects. The session begins at 10 a.m.

Investor groups have until Feb. 14 to revise or amend their proposals. Regulators then will begin a review and vetting process before the gaming board's commissioners decide which project is most suitable for the city.

A decision on the second casino could take up to a year.

The state's gaming law reserves two gaming licenses for Philadelphia. In 2010, SugarHouse Casino became the first gaming hall in Philadelphia. There are three other casinos in the surrounding Pennsylvania suburbs: Parx in Bensalem; Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester; and the Valley Forge Casino.


Contact Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659 or jlin@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @j_linq.

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