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PHILADELPHIA-Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos Inc. has taken itself out of the running for a slots facility here, and Orlando-based Planet Hollywood moves into the line alongside Trump Entertainment Resorts. The state is granting two category-two slots licenses here, and the deadline for applications is Dec. 28. For additional Philadelphia-area casino coverage, click here.

Ameristar withdrew its plan for a $450-million gambling-and-entertainment facility in the Fishtown area along the Delaware River. During a third-quarter conference call, Craig H. Neilsen, chairman and CEO, said, “following an in-depth analysis of the Philadelphia market, operational projections and construction cost estimates, we have determined that execution of our core business strategy…cannot generate a sufficient return on our investment to justify proceeding with a casino license application.”

Nearly simultaneously, Planet Hollywood presented the city with plans for Riverwalk Casino, a $380-million project for the northern section of Delaware Avenue, a site deemed favorable by the city’s gaming advisory board. The facility consists of two phases. The first has more than 106,000 sf of casino space for 3,000 slot machines, and the second adds 54,000 sf for another 2,000 slots.

“Non-gaming amenities and entertainment are integral to the overall experience,” a spokesman tells GlobeSt.com. The facility will feature six restaurants, aggregating 81,220 sf including a coffee shop, food court and buffet in addition to three “upscale” restaurants. There will also be 44,000 sf of retail shops where much of the merchandise will relate to Philadelphia sports teams and Riverwalk Casino and Planet Hollywood branded souvenirs; a 400-seat entertainment venue and 3,000 on-site parking spaces.

Plans call for “combining celebrity allure and Philadelphia culture” and will include live performances. Plasma screens inside will project images intrinsic to Philadelphia, such as Rocky’s run up the steps of the art museum and “a montage of Allen Iverson slam-dunking,” the spokesman says. The overall design allows for public access to the full span of the riverfront along a lighted promenade.

Planet Hollywood has created a partnership for the project that includes Pennsylvania Partnership Group, which is based locally and includes minority representation from corporate boards and civic groups, and BHM Gaming, which is a joint venture between Robert Earl, founder of Planet Hollywood, and Bay Harbour Management, an investment advisory, led by Douglas Teitelbaum. Teitelbaum and Earl have voting control of Aladdin Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, and Earl operates Fifty, a gaming facility in London.

Meanwhile, Trump, which has taken a ground-lease option on an 18-acre site Budd site, has yet to submit plans. The Budd site is on the west side of Center City at another location the advisory board deemed advantageous, especially if the other is located on the Delaware side.

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