Walk into the restaurants and coffee shops in Chinatown and you might find a petition making the rounds against a second casino in Philadelphia.
Steven Tran of the Chinese Benevolent Association said the group began circulating the petition a month ago and now has about 800 signatures.
“We’re still trying to get more,” Tran said in an interview Tuesday. He said the association, an umbrella group for nine other community organizations, is still collecting names and will at some point present the petition to the state’s gaming board.
“We want them to know we have a lot of people who are against it,” he said.
And what are they against? Tran says there are two main concerns: one economic, the other more personal. A casino could draw patrons away from restaurants. “When people go inside, they don’t want to come out,” Tran said.
Then there is the growing problem of gambling addiction in the Asian community. Evidence may be anecdotal, but if you talk to the folks in Chinatown, you hear lots of stories. After last week’s hearing on a second license before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, I asked Tran if he knew anyone with a problem. “Three,” he said without skipping a beat.
“We are against a casino coming close to Chinatown,” he said.