Friday, November 27, 2015

Voters not feeling lucky about second city casino

There comes a time when the well runs dry. Certainly, the Philadelphia market for casinos is looking tapped out.

Voters not feeling lucky about second city casino


There comes a time when the well runs dry. Certainly, the Philadelphia market for casinos is looking tapped out.

That's why state officials should think twice about granting a license for a second Philadelphia casino in the next round of chance to boost state revenues.

Just ask the voters: A recent Inquirer poll showed a majority of likely voters in the city and four neighboring Pennsylvania counties oppose another city casino. Financial analysts also are leery.

Nearly two years ago, state regulators made the right decision in revoking the license of the long-delayed Foxwoods Casino, slated to rise on the Delaware River waterfront to the south of SugarHouse Casino.

They should have moved that license to a potentially more lucrative site, but so far have kept it in the city.

Now, with the Nov. 15 application deadline approaching for that license, gaming officials cannot ignore the compelling evidence against another city casino.

Among the likely proposals is an ambitious $700 million plan developer Bart Blatstein is expected announce Tuesday to convert the former Inquirer/Daily News building on North Broad Street into a casino-hotel complex.

No official word yet on other potential sites. But, no doubt, there will be fierce grassroots opposition to force the city's hand.

The Philadelphia market is already home to four casinos: SugarHouse on the Fishtown-Northern Liberties border, Parx in Bensalem, Harrah's Philadelphia in Chester, and Valley Forge.

The state also has seven other casinos that are scrambling for customers and competing with gambling halls in nearby Atlantic City and Delaware.

With a staggering poverty rate, the last thing the city needs is another venue where people can squander the rent money at the slots and gaming tables.

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