Pa. Governor Wants 'The Donald'

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (search) wants Donald Trump (search) in the game.

With his state poised to open 14 slot parlors next year, Pennsylvania's chief executive is hoping Trump will be among those running them.

"I want the best operators who will put the best facilities together," Rendell said after an appearance at the New Jersey Conference of Mayors on Thursday at Trump Taj Mahal. "The Trump name would be a big draw, so we would encourage him to bid on a license."

Trump's casino company, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, recently won court approval for its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Next month, it is expected to formally emerge from bankruptcy court protection, boosted by a $500 million line of credit expected to be tapped for renovations to Trump's Atlantic City properties and — possibly — a play in Pennsylvania.

The company wants to run a slot parlor in Philadelphia to complement its New Jersey holdings.

"We are looking at one site in particular, although we have several alternatives," Trump Hotels President Scott Butera told The Press of Atlantic City for Friday's newspapers.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is expected to begin awarding licenses for the slot operations later this year, with actual gambling starting sometime in 2006.

Rendell downplayed the potential impact on Atlantic City's casinos (search), which draw heavily on the Philadelphia-area market for customers.

"It will cause only a small decrease. As Atlantic City morphs into a combination of a gaming and entertainment venue, you will still attract a significant number of people here," Rendell said.