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PHILADELPHIA-The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld, by a five-to-one ruling, the state Gaming Control Board’s award of two stand-alone slots parlor licenses to the developers of the SugarHouse and Foxwoods casinos here. The ruling followed an appeal by the local partnership that, in joint venture with Planet Hollywood Entertainment Inc., applied for, but failed to obtain, a license for Riverwalk Casino.

The Riverwalk group argued that PGCB deliberated in private and wrongly decided against its location and proposal. Riverwalk was the only one of five license applications for Philadelphia’s two casinos to be endorsed by Mayor John Street.

PGCB chairman Tad Decker applauded the decision, calling it “another significant step toward fulfilling the legislature’s vision to establish legalized gambling in the City of Philadelphia and producing tax dollars and jobs that will benefit all Pennsylvanians.” While it may be a “significant step,” it is far from the last, as GlobeSt.com has reported.

On the day of the court decision, the Philadelphia Planning Commission held a hearing regarding Foxwoods Casino’s $560-million development plan, including whether or not to create a special commercial entertainment district at the South Philadelphia site. After a contentious, four-hour meeting, the commission tabled a decision until Aug. 21.

In May, the commission approved the SugarHouse casino plan in Fishtown. The commission’s approval of the sites and plans moves the process along to a vote by the city council, which is expected to take place this fall.

Meanwhile, however, based on vigorous protests by a coalition of neighborhood groups, the state legislature is considering legislation that would block casino development anywhere within 1,500 feet of residences and other public properties, such as schools, churches and playgrounds. Such legislation would apply to, and effectively prohibit, development of both the SugarHouse and Foxwoods sites.

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