Feng-Shui, Race, Personality

Those seem to have been the dominant factors in the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s decision to award the lone Pittburgh casino license to Don Barden and PITG Gaming, on the North Side.

Much to the credit of the Category 2 Pittsburgh applicants, the Board has been presented with three very competent proposals, all of which are eligible and suitable for licensure under the terms of the Act. Unfortunately, the Board is constrained by the Act only to issue one license in Pittsburgh.

This sounds like my highschool science fair.

On December 20, 2006, during a public meeting, the Board voted unanimously to award PITG Gaming, LLC

Unanimity! Take that, holdouts for the appeals process.

Don H. Barden, an African American, is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Barden Development

This was the first mention of Mr. Barden in the document. It was also the most forthright implication of the Gaming Board’s approval of this fact. The heritage of the other potential owners were not mentioned. You thought Pittsburgh’s reaction to Coach Tomlin was bound to be interesting!

By the June 2, 2006 deadline established by the PGCB for the receipt of written public comment, the Board received four-hundred thirty eight (438) written comments specific to the IOC project. Two-hundred fifty eight (258) were opposed to the project, while one-hundred eighty (180) supported the project.

We think this was fairly damning for the Hill District / Isle of Capri. Neither of the other plans garnered this much negativity. We think Dr. Goddess had an impact.

McCormick and Taylor also expressed concerns about how access to the gaming facility would be integrated with the remainder of the Master Plan. Trans Associates, Inc. indicated that they would look into the issue as the project moved forward. As of November 8, 2006, McCormick Taylor indicated that with some exceptions, specifically including seven surrounding intersections, it appeared that IOC’s proposed improvements adequately mitigated the project impacts and concluded that there were still issues that had not been addressed

So, traffic was also a factor with the Isle of Capri. But Harrah’s scored even worse:

McCormick Taylor opined that the site itself had limited access routes primarily because of the proximity of Carson Street on one side of the site and the Monongahela River on the other and also determined that the traffic improvements proposed by Station Square Gaming were also going to be difficult to complete based on the project’s close proximity to a bridge and existing buildings. Station Square Gaming’s initial study also did not take into account the traffic impact of Pittsburgh Steelers Games and other events in the area.

So you had one casino with iffy traffic and lots of opposition, another whose traffic issues were just horrendous … and a third in the relative clear. Finally we find this:

In addition, the Board notes that the personal commitment of Mr. Barden to the PITG – Majestic Star project was evident at every step of the licensing proceedings. The Board notes Mr. Barden’s personal presence at all proceedings and his unwavering commitment to PITG Gaming’s project as his “flagship” property. The calm intensity which Mr. Barden brought to this project and his undeniable dedication to make this project a success for all of Pennsylvania speaks volumes of his character and suitability for this license.

This is the entirety of the section “Other Matters,” the final section before the report’s conclusion. It is clear that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board liked Barden more than the others. Just how Pittsburghers will evaluate the Board’s criterion for likability, again, may get interesting.

COMET EDITORIAL: FengShui, as manifested by traffic flow, alone, should have made it obvious that the North Shore was our winner. We find it entirely appropriate that the owner’s race was viewed as a supplemental benefit, especially as it lends more credence to his community development commitments. Furthermore, we are heartened that personality seemed to play a role. Huzzah for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.