Philly Park Gets Preliminary OK for Slots Facility

The Bensalem, Pa., Township Council gave preliminary approval April 15 to Philadelphia Park for construction of a 149,000-square-foot temporary building that's expected to house 3,000 slot machines should legislation pass.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell supports slots at racetracks, and two bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Final approval must be granted by the township for Philly Park to begin erecting the hangar-like structure, but no date has been set for a vote by the council. Greenwood Racing president Bob Green told the council the building, which could cost nearly $100 million when fully furnished, would attract 7,000 patrons per day to play the machines.

Some local residents expressed concern about the additional traffic the operation would bring to an already congested area just off Route 1 near northeast Philadelphia, but the council voted 4-1 to approve the plan.

Green said the temporary building evenutally would be replaced by a permanent "casino" adjacent to the grandstand. He also said the entire 417-acre site would be turned into an "entertainment complex" with restaurants, clubs, and theaters.

If slots aren't legalized this year, Green said the temporary building would be used as convention space.