SugarHouse Drops Lawsuit against Philadelphia Stadium Casino

Stadium Casino Philadelphia

The $600 million Stadium Casino project is expected to create 5,000 permanent jobs.

SugarHouse Casino dropped its years-long lawsuit against a second Philadelphia casino — the so-called Stadium Casino project. The decision is a major victory for the joint partners on the casino project: Cordish Companies of Baltimore and Watche “Bob” Manoukian, owner of Parx Casino.

Bob Manoukian owns 85% of Parx Casino, while companies he owns have a 50/50 joint partnership with Cordish Companies on the Stadium Project, a development plan to build an integrated casino resort adjacent to the homes of the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers.

The problem with that plan is that Pennsylvania gambling laws bar a majority owner in one casino to have more than a one-third stake in a second Pennsylvania casino. Though Manoukian claimed the Stadium Casino investment was in the name of his sons, SugarHouse Casino had been able to tie-up the project in litigation for years, because of questions about Bob Manoukian’s role.

Manoukian Paid $34 Million to Stadium Casino

Court documents show that Manoukian transferred $34 million to a trust for his sons, who are investors in the Stadium Casino. The Parx Casino owner said those transfers were “irrevocable and outright gifts”, and claimed he had “no monetary right or claim or investment in the trust”. He made a gift of the money, but owned no part of the Stadium Casino.

Whether the Stadium Casino gift was designed to be a secret investment or was a father bankrolling his children’s solo projects no longer matters. Neither side will have to test whether that claim would have worked in a civil court.

Pennsylvania Casino Ownership Bill

SugarHouse might not have had much of a choice in today’s decision. When the Pennsylvania gambling bill was signed into law on Monday, it contained clauses that would allow a majority casino owner to own a second Pennsylvania casino, under the right circumstances. SugarHouse had the legal standing for such a lawsuit neutralized.

SugarHouse Casino opened in 2010 along the Delaware River waterfront and Interstate 95. Over the years, the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area has attracted a number of casinos: Harrah’s Philadelphia, SugarHouse, Parx Casino (in Bensalem), Valley Forge Casino Resort, and, a little further out, the Bethlehem Sands Resort and Casino (in Bethlehem). Of them all, the Stadium Casino should be best-positioned to attract customers throughout the year.

Stadium Casino’s Location

That is because the $600 million Live! Hotel and Casino (Stadium Casino, LLC) will be located on 900 Packer Avenue or, more specifically, at the corner of Packer Avenue and Darien Street. Live! Casino will be within walking distance of Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Bank Park, and the Wells Fargo Center — the home of Philadelphia sports teams. Almost half of the days in the year, fans before and after sporting events will be within a few minutes walk of the casino.

When completed, the Stadium Casino project is going to be a centerpiece of the city, at least if the developers’ vision is correct. The Xfinity Live! complex is going to be in the development, so concerts, festivals, and other live shows will be held nearby throughout the year. The South Philadelphia residential areas will be nearby, so there should be a significant number of walk-up customers.

Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia

One of the major selling points of the Live! Hotel and Casino was its ability to create jobs in the South Philadelphia area. The 200,000 square feet gaming facility is going to hold 2,000 slot machines and 125 table games. The table games assortment is planned to include 33 poker tables and 92 banked table games. The complex also will contain a 220-room boutique hotel.

Each of those facilities will create jobs. Analysts predict a total of 5,000 jobs with a “living wage” will be created. The Xfinity Live! complex, described as a “intimate” music venue, should add new jobs, too, since it can expect an uptick of visitors.

According the Cordish Companies, the Stadium Casino will bring $2 billion in economic stimulus, along with $100 million in tax revenue within the first five years. $25 million should go to help the struggling School District of Philadelphia.