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New Live Casino – After more than five years — through two presidential administrations, two Philly mayors, the firing of a Super Bowl-winning Eagles and a Super Bowl-winning head coach — plans for a massive casino and hotel near the South Philadelphia stadiums are coming to fruition.

They will finally be fully realized next month when the Live! The Philadelphia Casino and Hotel opens to the public, becoming the second largest casino within the city limits.

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During a tour Thursday, members of the media were given a sneak peek of the 510,000-square-foot, $700 million facility.

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Rob Norton, president of casino developer Cordish Gaming Group, began by acknowledging the “elephant in the room”: The palace of personal pleasure is opening as the coronavirus pandemic rages and officials continue to ask people to stay home. .

Norton said he’s confident temperature guns, plastic separators, air filters and other safety measures will keep visitors safe.

“While almost every other business is struggling to stay open, we are opening and creating new jobs,” he said. – We are proud to be in this position.

The huge casino floor has over 2,100 slot machines, 121 table games and a separate poker room.

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Cinema-sized TVs show live games. Hungry guests can choose from dozens of restaurants and bars. There are upscale options, as well as burger and taco joints run by Guy Fieri.

During normal times, the casino and hotel have thousands of people drinking, gambling, eating and partying all at once.

But it will initially open with much less than that, allowing a maximum of five people per 1,000 square feet to comply with Philadelphia’s pandemic restrictions.

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In fact, much of the casino is now designed to prioritize the individual experience: slot machines are protected by plastic barriers, and players can play electronic versions of blackjack and roulette that minimize personal interaction.

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When asked why casino management doesn’t simply wait for the pandemic to subside before opening, Cordish Gaming marketing manager Jake Joyce said their schedule was driven by altruism: The casino already employs about 1,200 people.

The longer we wait to open, the less economic impact there will be on our community,” Joyce said. “It’s not just about the jobs—they [workers] go to the store; they dry clean their clothes. It’s a positive ripple effect as we open.”

Management said it will pay all workers — they expect to employ about 2,000 employees when fully operational — at least $12 an hour.

“There’s a disconnect between the world of capital … and black-owned businesses,” said John Moore, head of the Social Venture Circle in Philadelphia.

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Nyia Williams trained to operate a virtual blackjack table on Thursday. The 35-year-old North Philadelphia native said he thinks the casino will bounce back once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, but for now they’re dampening his enthusiasm.

“You have to walk around with a mask, it’s Plexiglas, which makes it really hard to hear,” he said. “And when you’re with your co-workers, you want to come together and experience it together — you can’t really do that [right now].”

Long before the epidemic, live! met with some resistance from the surrounding neighborhoods. Some South Philly residents began speaking out against the development when it was first announced in 2014, claiming it would create a parking shortage and hurt their property values. A saturated market

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Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has been brutal for Pennsylvania casinos, with table game and slot machine revenue down 30% statewide in November 2020 compared to November 2019.

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Live! Casino and Hotel also opens up to a market that is already quite saturated. Four of Pennsylvania’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos are located within 40 miles. And Atlantic City is less than two hours away.

“We have four professional sports teams in our parking lot,” Joyce said. “If you want to play in action where they play, you play here.

Live! The Casino and Hotel expects to generate $2 billion in economic stimulus for Philadelphia, including $100 million in direct tax revenue for the city in its first five years of operation.

The opening of the South Philly casino was delayed in part due to objections filed by the operators of Rivers Casino Philadelphia (formerly SugarHouse) in Fishtown. According to a 2019 study by Rutgers University, a new casino in Philadelphia would worsen Atlantic City’s deteriorating situation.

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“The whole gaming market in the Northeast is pretty saturated right now,” said Clyde Barrow, a gaming industry consultant and political science professor at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. “All it does is move jobs and income from one place to another. It doesn’t actually create net new growth.”

Barrow added that nearly every casino in the Northeast over the past decade has failed to meet initial expectations: “There’s no reason to expect this casino to be any different.”

The decline of face-to-face gaming may accelerate a trend that is gaining momentum during the epidemic: a shift to online or mobile gaming. Internet gambling revenue in Pennsylvania increased more than sixfold between November 2019 and November 2020.

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But while it might not make a lot of health sense to open a casino right now, it shows great business acumen, Barrow said.

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“You know you’re at the [bottom] of the economic cycle,” Barrow said. “Now we’re distributing vaccines — things are starting to open up again … it might be another year before we see that, but you’re entering the growth phase of the business cycle.”

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Marketing cookies track your online activity to help advertisers show more relevant ads or limit the number of times you see an ad. These cookies may share this information with other organizations or advertisers. These are persistent cookies and are almost always from third parties. Artwork is the new Live! he is waiting for potential guests in his lobby. Casino and Hotel Philadelphia in South Philadelphia. Photo/Mark Zimmaro

A new hotel and casino is opening in South Philly next month.

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia plans to open the doors to its 510,000-square-foot, multi-story facility at 8 p.m. Feb. 11 at 900 Packer Avenue, a short walk from the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.

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The casino has over 2,000 state-of-the-art slot machines, 121 live table games, 29 table poker rooms,

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