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Business news in brief

In the Region

SEPTA mediation effort ends

Electricians who work on SEPTA Regional Rail cars and equipment moved a step closer to being able to strike, following their release from federal mediation. The National Mediation Board ended its long-running efforts to broker an agreement between SEPTA and IBEW Local 744, and suggested the sides submit their long-running dispute to binding arbitration. The 200 electricians would accept arbitration, said Arthur Davidson, IBEW general chairman, but SEPTA will not, spokesman Andrew Busch said. Federal law now requires a 30-day "cooling off" period and a 240-day dispute-resolution period before a strike or lockout would be permitted. The electricians have been without a new contract since 2009. - Paul Nussbaum

Slots revenue down

Valley Forge Casino Resort was the only Pennsylvania casino to report higher slots revenue in April compared with a year ago. Valley Forge, which began a points-for-miles promotion with US Airways on April 26, won $6.48 million from slots players in April, up 20 percent from a year ago. Overall, the 11 Pennsylvania casinos open both years won $195.66 million from slots players in April, down 4.6 percent from last year. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville had the biggest percentage decline, 10.2 percent. The four casinos in the Philadelphia area reported a combined $70.64 million in slots revenue, down 3.4 percent from last year. - Harold Brubaker

S&P lowers PHL outlook

Standard & Poor's on Friday revised its outlook to "negative" from "stable" for Philadelphia International Airport's revenue bonds, but the ratings agency reaffirmed its A-plus underlying rating on the airport's debt. S&P said in a credit report last month that it could lower the rating if American Airlines Group Inc. "adjusts the size and breadth of its network" in Philadelphia. American spokesman Todd Lemacher said the airline maintains its "ongoing commitment to the Philadelphia hub." - Linda Loyd

Sands Bethlehem not for sale

Las Vegas Sands Corp. said it had decided not to sell its $830 million Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and named a top executive, Mark Juliano, as president of the property at the former Bethlehem Steel works. Sands Bethlehem's operating license was renewed for three years by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday. Sands executives said last year that they were considering selling the Bethlehem casino, which has the biggest table-games operation in Pennsylvania. The casino employed 2,227 people on March 31. - Harold Brubaker