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Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino Starts Work on its Poker Room; Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison Closes Theirs

Poker is on its way to Philadelphia, and SugarHouse Casino General Manager Wendy Hamilton can’t contain her excitement.

“It’s going to be a game changer,” Hamilton told CBS Philly, as the local media came out in droves to film the arrival of 24 poker tables in readiness for the interim poker room scheduled to open for business early next month.

The SugarHouse Casino is the only casino in Philadelphia, and when the poker room finally opens, it will be the only place in the city where you can get a fully-licensed game of real money poker.

Hamilton was so excited about the arrival of the new tables, she armed herself with bolt cutters and helped the delivery guys offload the truck. The first of 30 poker tables were delivered to the casino on October 17 and representatives from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board were on hand to inspect the tables before they were nestled in their new home.

It’s Good News For Everyone

The launch date for the $2.9m poker room is sometime in 2015, but an interim poker room will open early next month so players can get into the action much sooner.

The poker room is part of a new $164m expansion that will generate over 500 new full and part-time jobs in the city. One hundred of these positions will be assigned to the poker room, with 80 of them going to poker dealers. It’s anticipated that the room will generate $1.8m in taxes.

We found a way to put this temporary structure up, just in the meantime,” Hamilton told CBS Philly. “This will house 24 poker tables, so that’s 240 playing positions.”

Will We See a Second Casino in Philly?

Is there ever going to be a second casino in Philadelphia?

That’s the question that property developer Bart Blatstein is asking after becoming increasingly frustrated with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as they drag their feet over the issuance of the second casino license.

I think there are forces trying to keep the other casino license from going out and that is the frustration, “ Blatstein told NewsWorks. ”I do believe there is a lobbyist being paid to kill the license.”

Blatstein is the developer behind The Provence’s proposed bid and they are competing against Goldenberg Group’s Market8, PHL Local Gaming LLC’s Casino Revolution, and the Live! Philadelphia bid by Cordish Cos. and Greenwood Gaming.

Ho-Chunk Nation Poker Room Closes

Whilst one poker room prepares to open, another one plans to shut down for good.

The controversial Ho-Chunk Nation Poker Room in Madison, Wisconsin, is scheduled to close shop on Nov. 15, 2014 – four years after it first opened for business amidst a hailstorm of complaints.

The poker room contains eight electronic tables, no dealers, no chips, and no cards; and for the past four years, the state has gone to war with the casino over claims that the poker room violates gaming compacts between the state and the tribe.

In June, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb sided with the state and ordered the room closed, but the Tribe appealed a month later.

It’s unknown whether the poker room is closing because of mounting legal pressure, or whether it’s a cost cutting exercise. Either way, the last chance to play some electronic poker will be Nov. 14, when the plug will remain fixed into the socket from 12pm to 4am.



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Lee Davy

Life can be viewed as the sum of the parts or the parts themselves. I believe in the holistic view of life, or the sum. When dealing with individual parts you develop whack-a-mole syndrome; each time you clobber one problem with your hammer another one just pops up.