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This is France? We'd Rather Be In Philadelphia
Posted by Dan on November 1, 2012
If you haven’t heard by now, Wednesday night Bart Blatstein announced his plans for “The Provence,” his casino at Broad and Callowhill. Plan Philly has a poll asking for your opinion on Blatstein’s proposal if you want to take a closer look and weigh in.
Just in case you’re not sure where you stand on this proposal, Casino-Free Philadelphia will host a meeting, along with the national organization Stop Predatory Gambling, to discuss the Blatstein’s proposal on
Monday, November 12th
6:30 - 8:00 P.M.
Arch Street United Methodist Church
55 N. Broad St.
In short, Blatstein told reporters “It's not just a casino. It's an entertainment resort."
A resort? Well then perhaps he could have put it this way: he wants “a resort that has gaming, not a gaming venue that could be a resort.”
That’s what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told reporters in response to questions about New Jersey’s bailout of the “upscale” Revel casino. So far, that bailout has put a $2.4 billion hole in New Jersey's budget.
There is one big problem with this “resort” formula: casinos make profit from gambling addiction. That is their business. Surveys of casino patrons in the U.S. found that 70% had at least one symptom of gambling addiction. Take away those suffering from gambling addiction, and no casino can survive.
That is why any proposal for a second casino will be just another SugarHouse with extra bells and whistles.
And after living with SugarHouse for two years, more people in Philadelphia are concerned about the consequences of gambling addiction than the tired promise of “jobs.” This city needs real economic development, now more than ever. Casinos can’t deliver, (unless you count an increase in pawnshops).
But this is a huge resort? Isn’t that different?
Here is what Mayor Wesley Johnson of Leydard, Connecticut had to say in 2003 about the neighboring Foxwoods Resort, the largest single casino complex in the Western Hemisphere:
"There has been no economic development spin-off from the casino. Businesses do not come here. Tourists come mainly to gamble. Gamblers have one thing in mind: get to the casino, win or lose their money, get in their cars, and go home."
Philadelphia is not just one more town on the shore or a city in the desert. Philadelphia has so much more potential. Blatstein’s proposal shows a lack of imagination and ability, or possibly just a plain lack of willingness to do better. And we deserve better.
So please, come out to Arch St. United Methodist Church on Monday, November, 12th at 6:30. Tell your friends and neighbors, tell your community groups to come. Then together we will tell Bart Blatstein what we think of his proposal.
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