Casino fighters plan Harrah's Chester protest Saturday

General Motors will close its plant near Wilmington, Del., idling the region's last 450 auto workers. (Michael Wirtz / Staff Photographer)

Casino-Free Philadelphia plans "a series of peaceful actions" to fight "predatory gambling" at Harrah's Chester gambling hall, 2:15 pm Saturday, says spokesman David McKenna.

 "We're calling the event 'Beat the House,' and we've got information at," says McKenna, who says his group is composed of church and neighborhood activists as well as ex-gamblers tired of watching friends and neighbors pump their savings into slot machines.

"These machines are a delivery device of addiction," said backer Jethro Heiko, founder of Casino-Free Philadelphia, in a statement supporting the action. "Casinos also draw money away from local businesses."

Desire Glover of Delco Alliance for Environmental Justice, Ellen Somekawa of Asian Americans United (Philadelphia), and Rev. Robin Hynicka of Arch St. Methodist Church are backing the protest, according to McKenna. So are out-of-town supporters Bruce Barron of No Dice in Pittsburgh, Kathy Gilroy of Chicago, and Les Bernal of

McKenna said he expects 100 gambling opponents on the picket lines. Harrah's spokeswoman Monica Bersani told me her company had no comment.

Continue Reading