Casino fail.

Oh. Man.

International lender Credit Suisse has notified North Shore casino developer Don Barden he is in default of a $200 million bridge loan for the project according to a petition filed with the state Gaming Control Board.

The board today is considering a request by Mr. Barden to approve a new financing plan for the casino that includes a change in the company holding the license for the project. Mr. Barden would no longer be the majority owner of the casino, according to his spokesman.

Didn’t one of you suggest we put these slot machines in a warehouse somewheresabout?

Wait. Here we go:

Joey said:

I fail to understand why they just can’t put slots in a warehouse. I mean, all the gray-hairs are just going to go and push the flashing buttons…why even bother with the billion-dollar building.

At least this whole thing is quite entertaining to watch crater.


I don’t think Don Barden should be allowed to transfer the license.

He was awarded it, he defaulted, the runner-up should get it.

When Miss America is caught in a porn scandal, she doesn’t get to choose who gets the crown after she’s been stripped of it does she? “Um. Respectfully, I’d like to give the title of Miss America and the crown to my equally hot sister, Trina. I promise she’s worthy and she totally cares about peace in the Middle East … and the Iraq. KTHXBAI.”


  1. joey
    July 10, 2008 12:46 pm

    Boom. There goes the dynamite! (One of the funniest internet videos out there, if you haven’t ever seen it).

    Who didn’t see this coming?

    And who looks like a douche today? Rendell…Oronato….Ravenstall….everyone that’s been licking this guys nuts for years.

    But I’m looking forward to moving forward.

    P.S.: Last I checked, you couln’t just “change” the license holder.

  2. emstef23
    July 10, 2008 1:01 pm

    You know what peeves me – we almost lost our Pens because they just had to give this douche the license….and now look how it all turns out….EVERYONE saw this coming and yet we still give it to Barden….grrrr……

  3. james
    July 10, 2008 1:04 pm

    Along the same lines as emstef23: Barden is committed to pay some money (I don’t know exactly how much) towards the building of the new arena. What happens to that?

  4. Ginny
    July 10, 2008 1:12 pm

    Same thoughts as the other. What about the Pens? Barden promised money for the new arena. What now?

    Didn’t the people who awarded these licenses look into this guy’s other casinos first?

  5. Matt
    July 10, 2008 1:20 pm

    Will Bettis still be able to steal as much money from hard working Burghers as he was going to before?

  6. beaner
    July 10, 2008 1:46 pm

    Is this easy enough?
    Let’s the the Allegheny Counter voters decide:

  7. beaner
    July 10, 2008 1:50 pm

    ooops I wasn’t done yet. this is the referendum:


    O Don Barden

    O Isle of Capri

    O Station Square

  8. spoon
    July 10, 2008 1:52 pm

    yup, bet you’re sure glad that the slots license didn’t go to the Pittsburgh First group now aren’t ya gaming commish. Uptown land is lookin mighty appealing now eh.

    Does this mean we won’t be seeing sultry sassy Smokey Robinson anymore?


  9. Lyon Advocate
    July 10, 2008 2:03 pm

    What does Bettis have to do with this again? Oh yeah, he endorsed the guy from his home town who wanted to put a casino within a stone’s throw of his restaurant venture … who among us wouldn’t have done the same? Hell, Mario wanted to do almost the exact same thing except that he wanted his team in the same building/development as the casino. It’s called playing the game and anyone who blames Bettis, Lemieux, Robinson, Franco, etc. for doing it is living with their head in the ground.

    Also, the North Shore is still the best location for a casino (of the three original options) unless they can start over and use the soon to be abandoned Mellon Arena site. Should be interesting.

  10. VISA
    July 10, 2008 2:05 pm

    ahh come on yinz guys, who wanted to try to get to the southside if Harrah’s got the license or even to a beloved Pens game. I would prefer the casino being on the North side, just transfer the license and lets get it on!

  11. Ralph Kramden
    July 10, 2008 2:13 pm

    So how long until the other contenders sue our butts off for allowing Donnie Borrowdunn to choose his replacement?
    That sound you hear is the pitter-patter of lawyers’ feet, scrambling to file their case.

  12. Leon
    July 10, 2008 2:24 pm

    NAACP cries racism in 3… 2… 1…

  13. Sooska
    July 10, 2008 2:24 pm

    Am I too much of a conspiracy theorist to think that granting Barden (who has had financial problems with his other casinos) was just some backhanded plot to get the license to someone who would not have gotten thru the process in the first place?

  14. Custard
    July 10, 2008 2:38 pm

    Having a casino near the Pens arena wouldn’t be hard to get to. Its easy to get there, just ask all the people that went to sold out games this past season. Now Station Square, that’s a pain in the ass to get to.

  15. Pittsburgh Tom (in NJ)
    July 10, 2008 2:45 pm

    Leon, I’m not so sure that the NAACP will cry racism on this unless there’s any evidence suggesting racism.

    From the little I’ve seen, the public perception is it was a case of a millionaire business owner screwing up. They could take a PR hit protecting a millionaire screw-up, especially since race seems to have been a plus for him getting the license in the first place.

    I think Jesse Jackson might have staged a press conference over this if he didn’t have his own problems this week.

    Of course, everything I just said will probably be proven wrong.

  16. The Dude
    July 10, 2008 2:48 pm

    How about converting Century III mall into a casino? It has been on the list for quite a while. It has a great location, easy access (by downtown standards), and plenty of parking without a multi-level garage. Even the big stores can be converted into theaters, pool, hotel, mini arena. If you have ever been to Mohegan Sun in CT, you will see the similarities.

  17. Lyon Advocate
    July 10, 2008 2:57 pm

    Century III mall would be a great location … I live nowhere close to there.

    Another option would be in the Rocks so that one could satisfy both “skin” itches in one easy trip. Again, out of sight out of mind, at least until they get table games.

  18. Pittsburgh Tom (in NJ)
    July 10, 2008 3:03 pm

    Would they allow it near Century III since there’s schools close by? Also, I believe the license has to be inside Pittsburgh city limits.

    Personally, part of me is rooting for the casino to be delayed. I grew up close to the Meadows and went there with my dad and uncle when I was young. I actually had my first legal alcoholic drink at the meadows. Any delay in the Pittsburgh casino is more time the casino at the meadows has to gain more of a foothold in the area.

  19. unsatisfied
    July 10, 2008 3:14 pm

    damn — now, where am I gonna smoke?

  20. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    July 10, 2008 3:21 pm

    Pittsburgh Tom is correct. The casino has to be within the city limits (or as the law calls Pittsburgh, a city of the second class). Unfortunatley, the Gaming Board cannot just give the license to the runner-up. The licensee can change its ownship structure (i.e., bring in new partners, completely change owners, restructure existing owners), but those changes still have to meet the legal requirements as they relate to owners (e.g., cannot sell to someone who is a convicted felon).

    Just another chapter in the on-going saga of slots in PA….

  21. JP
    July 10, 2008 3:22 pm

    Whatever, I could care less if it gets built or not, but if you think this situation is uniuqe to Don Barden, you are misinformmed. Just take a look to see where Isle of Capri debt is currently trading. Although they are not in defualt, I am not sure they could float a bond in this environment.

  22. The Rev
    July 10, 2008 3:23 pm

    The Rooney brothers should bail out Barden with Druckenmiller’s cash.

  23. Angie :-)
    July 10, 2008 3:31 pm

    Why am I not surprised that this guy defaulted?

  24. windy city steel city
    July 10, 2008 3:47 pm

    Rooneys! Rooneys! Rooneys!

  25. JP
    July 10, 2008 3:49 pm

    In fact I bet dollars to doughnuts Isle of Capri is extremely glad they are no longer involved in this mess

  26. don
    July 10, 2008 4:22 pm

    barden got his deal in detroit due to his race. i imagine that’s why he landed the one in pittsburgh as well. hope the city has the good sense to move the deal over to a more legit operator and does not continue to push race into the equation.

  27. Bram R
    July 10, 2008 6:21 pm

    “When Miss America is caught in a porn scandal…” Just DARING the Cutting Edge to take a bite, aren’t you?

    No runners up. We’ve already done all this excavation and put up this scaffolding, and besides which, it IS the best place for a casino. There’s no question as to that. Barden should sell it to whoever is willing, hopefully, someone who is willing to turn it into a giant ice cream parlor, only with an ampitheater and boat docks.

  28. PittCheMBA
    July 10, 2008 6:24 pm

    The guy who is “helping” Barden already has a stake in the casino in Philadelphia. Rendell got in touch with this savior to help Barden out. Is there a conspiracy here? Did the gaming board select Barden knowing he was not financially sound and Rendell’s associate just happens to be the one who can bail out Barden?

  29. Doubtless
    July 10, 2008 7:45 pm


    That’s exactly what I was going to point out. A c-o-n-spiracy. They already have the slots on lock in Philly and nice ties to the MOB in NJ. Consider the slots game locked up in the east and west of PA.

    This just goes right along nicely with the current state of affairs with the government in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

    Corrupt. So corrupt it makes me sick.

    That’s in today’s PPG. I guess they weren’t willing to pay the right people off.

  30. bucdaddy
    July 10, 2008 7:51 pm

    There is no good place for a casino, suckers.

    Well, I’m OK with Monte Carlo …

  31. Pinto Alegre
    July 10, 2008 8:25 pm

    If Obama gets elected, does this mean that (future) cabinet member Cheesesteak Rendell will push for federal casinos? :)

  32. The Dude
    July 10, 2008 9:05 pm

    Too bad it has to be in the city limits. Unless of course the city and the surrounding areas merge and become Allegheny City! lol

  33. bucdaddy
    July 10, 2008 9:16 pm

    I once offered a guy in a bar a deal. He was muttering about losing on the lottery, so I said, “Tell you what, for the next year you give me all the money you would usually spend playing the lottery, and at the end of the year I’ll give you three-fourths of it back and we’ll call it a jackpot. Try getting THOSE odds anywhere else.” He wouldn’t go for it, so I upped it to 80 percent. Still no.

    So, if any of you playahs are interested, I’ll make the same offer. Easy money, people! Plus I won’t tell the IRS about your winnings. You CAN beat the house!

  34. gatorpez
    July 10, 2008 10:39 pm

    What the committee should’ve done was pick the location, and then had the bidders make their proposals based on that particular location. I think the biggest knock against Harrah’s was because of its location. I think Harrah’s would’ve been the better choice, many of their casinos are very successful.

  35. VISA
    July 11, 2008 7:23 am

    Great idea gatorpez! As for the Pens arena/casino, I have to disagree. It was horrible and then think with the gamblers. The northside local will affect me since I live in the beautiful view but then again so does the Steelers and the Sucko’s at times. Let’s just let time bring what it may. The new guy at least is going to honor the deals that were made. (I know I am naive but hey somebody has to see the good)

  36. JP
    July 11, 2008 8:03 am

    No offense gatorplex, but I think Harrah’s would of been a worse choice than Isle of Capri. The only way they could issue debt in this in this market is if they struck oil on the North Shore. What people need to realize is the market for capital raising is pretty much closed if you have equity to pony up well, OK but otherwise nothing is getting done until financial liquidity gets back to normal

  37. WJ
    July 15, 2008 9:55 am

    The residents of Pittsburgh are to blame for this, since they can only pull one handle when they vote. The Committee appointed to make this decision was made by the voter’s candidates, and this is what usually happens in this town. When you make a decision based on Race you never win just like Pittsburgh won’t until a change in management from top down happens. Isle of Capri which has 20+ successful Casinos across America and Harrah’s were the no brainers for the final decision. Keep up the great work Pittsburgh, see how many more people leave.

  38. Road Dog
    July 17, 2008 10:28 am

    Barden was already up to his eyeballs in debt before casinos were ever passed in pa. Just take a minute to think about the politics involved here. We have DiNapoles out east, who builds a casino before he was ever awarded his license, wonder why ! His backround is checked by state police, which is required under the gaming law. They come up with a questionable past, then all of a sudden, Rendall takes backround checks off of the state police and gives it to the gaming commission to investigate. License granted !! My opinion is: congressional black caucus pressures legislature for a minority license in the state or they will block gaming bill, hence Bardon. I wish they would never have passed gaming in pa. Now – Ravenstall, Onarato and Rendall will bless this new investor with bardon just to get things going and open. I agree, I would like to see Harrah’s and Isle of Capri file a billion dollar law suite and tie this thing up for years to come…..

  39. Al Luccioni
    July 17, 2008 2:14 pm

    It’s real easy and (maybe enjoyable for some people as in a Schadenfruede kind of way) to blame this mess on racial bias. But the truth of the matter is all the bidders are up to their eyeballs in debt. This whole process has been a huge equity option for these casinos, that’s why they promise the moon in their proposals, it is not going to cost them anything to walk away if it does not work. The truth of the matter is that both final proposals were blue-sky best case scenarios that had nothing to do with the reality of this market. From what I can tell neither proposal was offering up financing secured by their exisiting casinos, they are already pledged and that is they only way you are going to raise debt in this market. Truth of the matter is neither of these deals would of been closed in this environment.

  40. Puma
    July 17, 2008 3:57 pm

    It’s a little late to add my two cents, but I’d toss Parkway Center into the mix as a casino location. It fits all the criteria for the location, including the necessary dump-mall requirement. But I’m pretty sure its staying put on the Shore.