Gaming Board public hearing: Sen. Farnese speaks

Philadelphia Casino
Shown is an interior view of the gaming floor at the SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia's only casino so-far. It opened on for Sept. 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Only fitting that Sen. Larry Farnese got the first slot for addressing the gaming board: all six applicants have proposed projects within his district, which also includes the one existing gaming hall, SugarHouse.

Farnese said it would “difficult if not unfair to chose a particular favorite.”

But the South Philadelphia Democrat gave some hints of how he’s leaning. His big message to gaming board: don’t go with the project that’s the lowest risk. Think big and pick a project that would yield the most economic benefit for the city.

If the only mandate of the board was to generate revenue, Farnese said, the board should “build the biggest box you could, put in as many slots as you could and open for business.”

Farnese told commissioners they should focus on:

  • Project’s overall economic impact on city;
  • Weighing the concerns of host neighborhoods
  • and determining the “sustainability” of applicant.


Farnese said commissioners should focus on the “context” of a project and how it could revitalize or energize a neighborhood.


On the sustainability of projects, the senator said commissioners need to “look closely at who will fund who will build and who will operate the casino.” The board should look the financial and examine “the track records of applicants who have a history of developing Philadelphia markets, who understand this market.”

Continue Reading