by Bennett P. Lomax, board member
PHL Local Gaming, LLC
Following the recent passing of my father, Walter P. Lomax, Jr., MD, my mother, siblings and I, who comprise the ownership of The Lomax Cos., have proudly reaffirmed our family’s commitment to its 12.3% equity position in PHL Local Gaming. As had been announced in January of this year, that investment resulted in our family being the largest African American, and largest minority equity participant in any of the five companies currently bidding for the available Category 2 license in Philadelphia.
I was subsequently elected to the PHL Local Gaming board of managers; again, the only African American board member at any of the bidding companies. In that role, I have been an active director throughout the year-long bidding process. I’ve added my own business and financial-management experience to the more than 100 years of aggregate casino-industry knowledge possessed by my fellow-board members, and Joe Procacci’s own 65 years of business ownership and executive leadership experience.
In addition, PHL Local Gaming has also announced to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that, should it win the available license, it has committed to also add to its board Judge Nelson A. Diaz, a distinguished Hispanic leader, with many years of service and leadership on large corporate boards and in major law firms.
PHL Local Gaming is unique among the five Philadelphia casino bidders in that it offers a model of significant minority ownership, which provides the strongest assurance there will be fair and representative levels of racially and ethnically diverse participation at Casino Revolution. That will exist not just among entry-level employees, but also at the governance and key operating levels, including decisions related to vendor relationships.
When PHL Local Gaming’s CEO Procacci and my father developed their vision for Casino Revolution, they were adamant the project would have a “Philadelphia-First” focus. To them, that meant the facility would not only be a transformative catalyst to its immediate South Philadelphia community, it would also ensure that its jobs would be primarily available to people in that neighborhood, and to Philadelphians, as a whole, and, that its contracts would be primarily let to Philadelphia-based businesses.
It’s no coincidence, therefore, that, when the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board requested that each bidding company submit a Diversity Plan, as part of their comprehensive applications, PHL Local Gaming’s submission included the most-aggressive diversity goals in virtually every category. We will match them against any of the other bidders, for their completeness, and internal top-level support, that will ensure that they actually occur.
The decision that the Gaming Control Board will make in 2014 carries the potential for significant economic impact, but unless the diverse communities in our City are also included as participants, Philadelphia, as a whole, will not share appropriately in the project’s benefits.
We in the Lomax family are proud to be lead participants in such a critically important process.