When Bad Ideas Fly—II
To siphon cash away from the Native American casinos, state representatives passed a legislation that allowed racetracks to double as slot parlors. This was a boon to horse racing as well as state and local government coffers.
An example of racing with no slot machine revenue in New York state was when the venerable New York Racing Association—which oversees Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga race tracks—declared bankruptcy on Nov. 3, 2006.
Tired of ceding slot money to Atlantic City and Delaware Park, the Pennsylvania legislature voted—and the governor signed—a bill authorizing six slot parlors at racetracks around the state, and five more in urban areas, including two in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Contenders
Donald Trump submitted an elegant proposal for a casino on the site of the old Budd railroad car factory in Northwest Philadelphia. Two other organizations came up with plans for slot parlors on the west bank of the Delaware River—Pinnacle Entertainment and Planet Hollywood. All three were blown off by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. The two winners:
* SugarHouse, the baby of Chicago real estate mogul Neil G. Bluhm, is to be situated on the Delaware River, just north of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Included will be a 500-room hotel, outdoor dining and boat slips.
* Foxwoods is also slated for the banks of the Delaware. Its investors represent a blue ribbon roster of Philadelphia’s power elite—men and women of enormous influence, wealth and political connections. Without question, they’re going to lose their shirts and bras by creating a monumental real estate debacle. Among the roster of greedy ghouls bent on destroying South Philadelphia:
Edward M. Snider—Chairman/part-owner, Comcast-Spectacor, whose holdings include the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team and the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team.
Billy King—President and general manager, the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team.
(The current won-lost record of the 76ers (9-25) is an indication of the caliber and business acumen of Ed Snider and Billy King.)