Steve Wynn backs out on Philly ... again

An artist's rendering of Steve Wynn's proposal for a casino along the Delaware River.
An artist's rendering of Steve Wynn's proposal for a casino along the Delaware River.
Posted: November 13, 2013

STEVE WYNN, the casino developer who came to Philly in 2010 talking up a flashy riverfront project but then abruptly dropped those plans, has done it again.

Wynn, citing the approval of casino gambling in New York, said yesterday that he is withdrawing his application to build a casino and entertainment complex on 60 acres along the Delaware River in Fishtown.

Wynn was one of six bidders in November 2012 for the city's second casino license.

His first foray into Philly's casino market in 2010 lasted just six weeks. He took over and then abandoned the long-stalled Foxwoods project in South Philly.

The state Gaming Control Board then revoked the Foxwoods license, which is now being sought by five developers.

Wynn Resorts issued a brief statement yesterday, saying the "Philadelphia market performance over the past year and the competition which will result from the recent approval of gaming in the state of New York" were factors in the decision.

The region has four casinos: SugarHouse in Fishtown, Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, Parx in Bensalem and Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia.

New York voters last week approved a measure to build up to seven casinos in the state. The tax rate in New York will be 37 percent to 45 percent on slot machines, depending on the region, and 10 percent on table games.

The Pennsylvania tax rate is 55 percent for slot machines and 16 percent for table games to start, dropping to 14 percent after two full years of operation.

"Wynn presented a competitive and substantial proposal which now will not be among those for the Board's consideration," Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach said in an emailed statement. "The Board will move forward with its hearings and consideration of the remaining five proposals to determine the best overall proposal for the last casino in the city."

Wynn is competing in Massachusetts for a sole Boston-area casino license to build a project just north of that city.

As in Philadelphia, he brings a rock-star stature in the casino business and the bragging rights of having $2 billion in the bank, enough to build a project with cash while other developers need to secure bank financing.

Wynn Resorts, which operates casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in August that about half of that $2 billion is held overseas and would be subject to a 50 percent tax if brought into the United States.

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN


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