he long-stalled Foxwoods Philadelphia project along the Delaware River has faced financial difficulties and neighborhood opposition since winning one of two state casino licenses set aside for the city in 2006.
"We are fascinated by the legalization of full gaming in Pennsylvania and stimulated by the opportunity that it presents for Wynn Resorts," CEO Steve Wynn said in a brief statement. "This particular project did not, in the end, present an opportunity that was appropriate for our company."
The Las Vegas-based company, which runs two casino-resorts in Sin City and expects to open its second property in Macau later this month, said it has terminated agreements and negotiations for a possible investment in the Foxwoods project.
The announcement surprised Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who had met Monday with an eager Wynn to discuss the project that supporters had hoped would boost the economy and redevelop the waterfront. "This is a stunning turn of events," Nutter said. "I've never seen anything like this before."
Nutter said Wynn was as enthusiastic a developer as he had met. On Thursday afternoon, Wynn's counsel told Nutter that the decision was solely related to the transaction and nothing to do with the city itself, Nutter said.
Without a developer to take over the project, opponents plan to call anew for state regulators to yank the license from the site. Wynn met with Pennsylvania state gambling regulators in March to persuade them to let the company take over the project and build a us$ 600 million casino. Under the plan, the state and city would take more than half of the casino's slot revenues and 16 % of its table game revenues.
Wynn would have taken a 51 % stake in the project, while a partnership including the Connecticut Indian tribe that owns Foxwoods Casino and the charities of three wealthy businessmen, Lewis Katz, Ron Rubin, and Ed Snider were to remain aboard with smaller shares. Wynn later provided renderings of the proposed casino and had until later this month to provide construction and design details.
Pennsylvania lawmakers legalized table games in January, which Wynn has said will help it attract gamblers from farther away and compete with gambling industries in nearby states.