Thursday, April 8, 2010

Editorial: Why Wynn Will Weturn

By Ken Davison
Feather News

Wynn Resorts announced today that the company is no longer interested in buying out the partners of what has been dubbed the Foxwoods Philadelphia casino project.

Wynn will be back in Philadelphia. Either he will return after there is no life left in the Foxwoods Philadelphia project or the partners in the Foxwoods Philadelphia project will offer Wynn better terms before its last gasp.

The Feather News knew that Wynn was the prospective secret investor in the Philly Foxwoods project months back if only because he had just become Atlantic City's jilted lover (over the company's ties with investors deemed suspect by N.J. regulatory authorities) and Wynn's deep pockets ready for financial revenge and financial gain across the Delaware River.

There is money to be made in gaming in Philadelphia as long as the investment is reasonable. Why would Wynn pay a premium to take a 51 percent stake in the project that could also lead to court battles when he could get a larger stake for the same investment or less in a newly-bid out casino license?

Make no mistake, there will be a second casino in Philadelphia with or without Foxwoods or Wynn. But there will be a second casino there. Governor Rendell wants it - he lobbied heavily for casinos on the Philadelphia waterfront in the 1990's when he was the mayor of the city of Philadelphia - and he will agressively push now both behind the scenes and publicly to make sure that a second casino becomes a reality. Two casinos on the Philly waterfront will be the finishing touch to the same waterfront that Rendell remade when he was that city's mayor.

Rendell's term as governor is up in the Fall when he will have completed his statutory two-term limit. We think Rendell will get what he wants and the state will get what its coffers need.

Note: Ken Davison was a finance consultant to the city government of Philadelphia under the administration of then-mayor Ed Rendell. He worked at 1600 Arch.