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Supreme Court Upholds Valley Forge Category 3 Slots License

Valley Forge Convention Center is a “well established resort hotel” that otherwise meets statutory licensing requirements for receipt of a Category 3 slots license, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held in a 3-2 decision upholding the Gaming Board.

The Gaming Board’s May 2009 decision granted Valley Forge’s application for one of two Category 3 licenses set aside for “well established resort hotels” over the protest of Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, Inc., which operates Parx Racing and Casino (Philadelphia Park).   Philadelphia Park challenged the Board’s decision on a number of grounds in its direct appeal to the Supreme Court.  Finding that it “could not conclude that the Board committed legal error or acted arbitrarily” in deeming the Convention Center a “well established resort hotel,” the court went on to affirm the other disputed aspects of the Board’s decision concerning Valley Forge’s satisfaction of statutory ownership and financing requirements.  On a final issue related to access to the gaming floor by non-hotel patrons, the Court agreed with the Board that the issue was subject to final Board action in issuing a license to Valley Forge, which had not yet occurred, in part because of the appeal resolved by the court’s opinion.

The dissenters took issue primarily with the “well established resort hotel” finding. Justice Saylor reviewed the statute, the evidence and the arguments and found legal error in the Board’s conclusion: “I find substantial force in Appellant’s argument that Valley Forge Convention Center cannot be well established in the public eye as a resort, where it apparently does not appear even to perceive itself as such.”  Justice Eakin was more blunt: “we know a duck when we see one, and for better or worse, the Convention Center is a duck, not a goose.”

Copies of the Court’s opinions are available here:

[J-81-2009] – 79kb

 [J-81-2009][M.O. – McCaffery, J.] – 59kb

 [J-81-2009][M.O. – McCaffery, J.] – 52kb

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