Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Isle of Capri: Denied

The Pittsburgh Penguins future looks a little bit gloomier today. Their plan to get a new arena was for the Isle oof Capri casino lisence to be approved and its profits owuld be put toward an arena. They were competing with two other potential casinos for this licence. Today, the casino licence was not granted to Isle of Capri. PITG Gaming Majestic Star, a Detroit based company, will get the licence. Now the Penguins must seriously look for a plan B.

The Penguins problems are further enhanced because potential owner Jim Balsillie withdrew when the NHL pressured him to commit to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh at all cost. This was the second time the Pens current ownership attempted to sell the team. This summer Howard Fingold submitted a failed bid. It is clear that current ownership has no desire to hold onto the team. The plan to get a new arena built has failed. Although NHL propoganda mentions Frank D'Angelo as a potential owner (or Mark Cuban sometimes) there is no realistic new owner ready.

I must admit that I know little about bidding for casino licences in Pennsylvania. I find it amazing how the Isle of Capri handled their bid. Thousands of hockey fans who know less than I do about casino licenses were praying for their bid to succeed. Almost none of them actually care about casinos. It was the arena they were cheering for.

What criteria does the decision get based upon. Is it soley the suitability of the casino plans and the ownership group? Does the fact that Isle of Capri promised an arena matter? If another group promised to invest profits in the stock market and then have their grandchildren live the lives of spoiled rich kids (a la Paris Hilton but not quite as wealthy) is that a negative or does it matter at all? Since the Pittsburgh Penguins are tied into the Isle of Capri bid does their recent ownership problems hurt the bid? I don't know the answer to these questions. Frankly I don't care. This is more about casino licences in Pennsylvania than I ever imagined writing. It does reduce the potential of a gambling conflict of interest in the NHL.

Now what happens with the Pittsburgh Penguins? Will they build a new arena? How long will they stay in Mellon Arena? Will they move? If so, where? Kansas City wants them and is considered the front runner. What are the implications to the NHL if they move? They have a new CBA which many believe will provide the stability that Gary Bettman promised in the lockout. If this is proven to be false, what is the public reaction?

Here is the TSN story.

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