Rendell Optimistic About Pittsburgh’s Casino

Governor Rendell has a strong interest in every single casino in this state. That’s because using slots revenue from those casinos to reduce school property taxes was his project.

Rendell proposed the idea, convinced the General Assembly to buy into it and now wants every casino up and running as fast as possible.

Today Rendell said he is confident in Don Barden and that is good news for the casino developer in Pittsburgh.

„I do believe they will finish and they will finish on track,“ Rendell said Monday.

And part of the Governor’s strong words comes from the fact that he knows the financiers are pumping major money into Barden’s casino.

„They are first class people,“ Rendell said. „They are well-funded and I think they’ll inject the equity that is necessary for it to go forward at a rapid pace.“

Pittsburgh’s casino isn’t the only one behind the original schedule. The two casinos approved for Philadelphia haven’t even turned ground yet.

But Rendell is giving praise to Barden for getting construction underway for the casino.

„You have to give Barden some credit though. We are standing in a very terrible market to be borrowing money. He has kept construction going almost unbroken and I think with this new influx of money, if the gaming board approves the new structure, I think we will get back on track really fast,“ Rendell said.

As for a postponement in some of the riverside attractions, Rendell said it was not a major worry for him.

„Long-term I am concerned about the amenities. I’m not concerned on whether there is an amphitheater there the day the casino opens.

Rendell repeated that there was no chance that Barden could cut corners on his commitment to give USD 7.5 million a year to help build the new hockey arena.

„That’s something that no one will waive,“ Rendell said.

The governor thinks says once the casino opens, it will bring in lots of money to the city.

But before the casino can make money it has to be built. The Gaming Board will meet this Thursday.

The board says it is possible there will be more public discussion of Barden’s new financial partners and Barden could testify. But no final decisions are likely this week.