The local investors behind a proposed South Philly casino, now partnered with Caesars Entertainment, failed to impress the state Gaming Control Board or its staff this morning during a pitch to keep the project alive and put off a vote to revoke their state license. The investors were required to file a stack of documents Friday that demonstrate what they will build, how they will pay for it, who will own it and who will manage it.
Cyrus Pitre, head of the board's Office of Enforcement Counsel, said during the hearing that the investors submitted letters from two banks who said they were confident but not yet committed in funding $200 million in debt for the $275 million first phase of construction. Pitre said the ownership information submitted had some blank spaces and other areas where information was promised later.
On the other $75 million, the investors said they have $21 million committed from two local partners and $25 million from Caesars. They hope to raise the remaining $29 million but can get a $10 million bridge loan from Caesars if they get at least $19 million more.
The board was clearly unhappy with changes made to the original casino project, approved in December 2006, that committed 42 percent of the profits to local charities for children, with an anticipated $300 million over 10 years. The new plan still has money going to charities, but a significant portion would go to the Pequot Museum in Connecticut. The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which runs two casinos under the Foxwoods brand in that state, was originally a 30 percent partner and planned to manage the casino. The tribe, after stumbling into serious financial trouble, is now little more than a passive investor.