PlanPhilly

Local concert legend Larry Magid would oversee entertainment at proposed Provence casino

If Tower Entertainment gets Philadelphia's remaining casino license, the proposed Provence casino's entertainment offerings would be managed by Philadelphia music mogul Larry Magid.

“He's going to oversee the nightlife productions of the vast array of amenities we're providing, from concert hall to jazz club to comedy club,” and also the night club and private pool club, Tower Entertainment's Bart Blatstein said in an interview.

“He will say today how The Provence is the only applicant that offers the opportunity for world-class acts and shows to play here in Philly,” Blatstein said, referring to remarks Magid was expected to make at a 11 a.m. press conference.

Magid's the man behind The Electric Factory Concert Series, and also 1985's Live Aid at JFK Stadium, and 2005's Live 8 on the Parkway. For a time, Magid booked talent at an existing casino, Atlantic City's Borgata.

When asked how and why he selected Magid, Blatstein said, “That's easy. It's how did he say yes that is the question.”

Magid and Blatstein are friends. They also “have an agreement,” Blatstein said when asked about a contract. “I can't divulge any of it, of course.”

Both the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board have said Philadelphia's second casino has to be about more than gambling to succeed in such a competitive market place. All five contenders – Tower Entertainment; Market East Associates with their proposed Market8; Penn National Gaming with Hollywood; Cordish and Greenwood Gaming with Live! Hotel & Casino; and PHL Local Gaming with Casino Revolution – say they've got what it takes. Blatstein said it again today.

Having world-class entertainment venues “provides the opportunity for much more revenue – non-gaming revenue and also gaming revenue – and for The Provence to stand out, head and shoulders above the rest,” he said. “This is big, because this last license must be the real deal. It must be what people think of when the think of a casino. Like Vegas. Or the Borgata.”

Blatstein said Magid's participation goes hand-in-hand with his earlier announcement that celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio and Andrew Carmellini would run eating establishments within The Provence.

Blatstein laughed when asked if there's a particular act he's hoping to see at his proposed venue, saying he'd leave it to Magid and his company to bring in the acts his best customers favor. “I'm locked in the '60s and '70s. Forget about it,” he said. “When we did bookings for The Piazza, I would have to go on YouTube, because I didn't know the groups.”


About the author

Kellie Patrick Gates, Waterfront, casinos, planning reporter

Kellie Patrick Gates writes about planning, neighborhood development and the Central Delaware Waterfront. A journalist for more than two decades, she  worked for daily newspapers in Central Pennsylvania, Upstate New York and South Florida before coming to Philadelphia in 2003 to write for the Inquirer. Her work has appeared on PlanPhilly since 2007, and she also writes Love, the Inquirer's weekly wedding column. A native of Elk County, Pa., Kellie lives with her husband, Gary, and their dog and two cats.

Follow her on Twitter @KelliePGates



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