I was at the game tonight with a friend of mine who happens to be very well connected on both the state and local government levels. As we're both huge Pens fans, we were discussing the slots process and in the course of that discussion, the following tidbits were revealed. Most of this came from a source he has who is connected with both the slots license and involved with the arena proecss here (some of this might surprise you)...
1. No one knew who the frontrunner was for the Pittsburgh license heading into Wednesday. Every plan had significant pros and cons, and it's difficult to tell what the board is going to do. But if you read between the lines a little bit, one plan may be emerging.
2. Seems to think that the chances are incredibly good that the Pens will remain in Pittsburgh. More on that in a minute.
3. Forest City's plan has drawn a very significant amount of concern by the board because of their traffic issues and their revenue projections. The traffic concerns are very real because a poor traffic situation will increase the risk that people don't come back (or don't come at all). And the revenue projections from Harrah's...well...consider this...
4. According to my buddy's source, the board is concerned that Isle of Capri's revenue projections were inflated a little bit, based on the number of slots machines they were initially estimating for their parlor. They made an effort to adjust those numbers, but there are still concerns over the IoC's ability to hit those projections.
5. If they are concerned about the IoC's revenue projections, you can imagine what they think of some of those put forth by Forest City and Harrah's.
6. The most accurate projections all around belonged to the Majestic Star plan, and the biggest concern the board seems to have with that plan is the objection it's received from the Steelers and the Rooneys. Remember what I said about being surprised? Perhaps you can see what I might be getting at here.
7. There is some concern that the board will not have enough votes to make this decision tomorrow.
8. These people have some familiarity with the Balsillie situation as well. Apparently, the NHL took a much more hardline stance with Balsillie than most people know. Much of the dispute with Balsillie centered on the viability of Plan B. The league is adamant about keeping this team in Pittsburgh one way or another, so much so that in a meeting between the two, Bettman basically told Basillie something to the effect of, "Hope you like Pittsburgh because you're stuck there." No matter what the result of the gaming board, rest assured that all efforts will be made to keep the team here.
9. Again, there's no way to tell exactly who the board will pick and there seems to be an expectation that the decision may be delayed.
Take these for what they're worth...but I've known this guy since college and he's been a very close friend of mine for the last ten years. I have every reason to trust him, and Spoon can even vouch for this guy.
Time for bed...long day tomorrow.