Stadium Casino LLC is on track to open its $700 million Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia by the end of 2020. Construction is underway in South Philadelphia, structural steel is scheduled to arrive in June, and the building shell should be completed by December, according to casino officials.
But first, the casino hotel at 900 Packer Ave., near Citizens Bank Park, needs to clear up a small regulatory matter: Its Pennsylvania license, granted in 2014, is set to expire this year.
That the casino’s license is expiring before its doors have opened is a tribute to a short, unhappy life mired in a courtroom, where Stadium Casino eventually prevailed over lawsuits from rivals over the issuance of a second casino license in Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is required to conduct a license renewal every five years, so on Monday it held a public hearing at Penn State’s campus in the Philadelphia Navy Yard on Stadium Casino’s renewal application despite the lack of an operating history. Only one speaker signed up to comment. He was a no-show.
There is little doubt that the board will renew Stadium’s license. Stadium has paid the state nearly $75 million in license fees for slots and table games, plus an additional $40 million for a satellite casino license in Westmoreland County.
Rather, the hearing was an opportunity for Cordish Cos., a Maryland casino operator and real estate developer that bought out out a partner’s interest in the project last year, to update the board on construction plans.
The $700 million project was originally budgeted for $450 million before the owners decided to build an entirely new hotel rather than to incorporate the Holiday Inn that previously occupied the site, said Joseph Weinberg, a Cordish principal.