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PHILADELPHIA-The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board extended the license for Foxwoods Casino, with strings attached. It must be built as previously approved, on the previously approved site, and be up and running in less than two years, or the license will disappear quicker than coins into slot machines.

Philadelphia Partnership and Development Corp. won one of two casino licenses for Philadelphia in 2006 on condition that its property–Foxwoods Casino–would be up and running on the Delaware River in South Philadelphia by May 2009. Just before the deadline, under pressure from public officials and citizens groups opposed to the location, it asked for a two-year extension to consider alternative site, including the old Strawbridge & Clothier store at 801 Market St. in City Center.

On Friday, in front of the would-be developers, Gregory Fajt, the gaming board chairman, did not mince words. “We do not want to hear that there are other sites that you want to look at,” he said, according to published reports. “We expect you to move and move quickly, or we’ll yank the license.”

The board extended Foxwoods’ gaming license to May 2011. By that time, it must be up and running with 1,500 slots and, eventually, the project must look remarkably like what was proposed way back in 2006. The original proposal called for a $670-million, 700,000-square-foot facility with multiple food and entertainment options and a high-rise hotel.

An executive of a partnership told the gaming board on Friday that the new economy is such that the project will have to be built in phases. Given the deadline, the first phase would be an interim facility, he said, to be replaced by a permanent facility sometime in the future.

Foxwoods investors include charitable family trusts for developer Ron Rubin, entrepreneur Lewis Katz, Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider and Foxwoods Development Co., a subsidiary of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation that runs the Foxwoods casino in Connecticut. The group has reportedly invested $160 million to date on the project. As part of the extension, the investor group must deliver a revised plan in three months and a financing plan in six months, on top of monthly progress reports. It also must provide advance notice of any change of ownership.

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