Casino-Free Philadelphia has been railing about Mayor Nutter since he held a press conference last week to say the city would not try to stall construction of two proposed casinos in the city. Here's the headline from a recent CFP e-mail to reporters: Mayor Breaks Multiple Promises Regarding Casino Development in Philadelphia. You can read more about that here.
Nutter yesterday burst out laughing yesterday when asked if his position on casinos helped him win the mayor's race last year, saying he "rarely talked about casinos." Nutter did voice support as a candidate for a ballot measure that would have asked voters if casinos should be banned from building within 1,500 feet of residences, schools, churches and other public places. A legal challenge stripped that question from the ballot.
Nutter still says casinos would "not be my first choice" for economic development. But the two casinos -- SugarHouse in Fishtown and Foxwoods, approved for South Philly but now considering Eighth and Market streets -- were approved by the state and the mayor has no power to stop them, he added.
"I think folks have to understand the difference between your personal view and the reality of the law," Nutter said. "You can’t find a statement anywhere from me saying I was going to fight to prevent them from being here. My issue with casinos was the location."
Nutter succeeded in getting Foxwoods to consider a new location but couldn't persuade SugarHouse, which has gone to the state Supreme Court seeking help for what it says is stalling tactics by the city. As for Casino-Free Philadelphia, Nutter said the group's real fight was in Harrisburg, where the General Assembly passed the law allowing casinos in the state.