Costs of Casino Detailed in Casino-Free Philadelphia Briefing

For Immediate Release


Dan Hajdo, dan [at] casinofreephilly [dot] org, (267) 971-0937; Kaytee Riek, kaytee [at] CasinoFreePhilly [dot] org, 267-334-6984

Nearly one year after SugarHouse casino opened, a briefing released by Casino-Free Philadelphia shows the costs to city residents in financial loss, personal indebtedness, and crime outweigh the benefits by 10 to 1.

"The numbers show a clear loss for Philadelphia and its residents," said Kaytee Riek, director of Casino-Free Philadelphia. "SugarHouse has done nothing more than siphon money out of the city to send to Chicago investors, and left Philly residents and the city to clean up the mess," Riek said.

View Casino-Free Philadelphia's report on SugarHouse.

The report shows that people have lost over $232 million at SugarHouse through August. Philadelphia gained a little over $10 million in taxes and other revenue, while their investors have made more than $54 million in profit.

"Especially considering half the losses come from Philadelphia residents alone, SugarHouse hasn't brought in as much new revenue as was promised. It's merely redistributed the money from low and middle class people of Philadelphia to extremely rich people in Chicago and elsewhere," said Riek.

In addition, the briefing points out that as many as 500 SugarHouse visitors received "quicksand credit," or credit issued by the casino only 30 minutes after a gambler requests it for as much as double what's in a gambler's bank account.

Jobs at SugarHouse are non-union, and have gone disproportionately to white males. Meanwhile, the number of jobs lost through displacement is unknown although Fredrick Murphy of Temple University estimates as many as 3.5 jobs would be lost for every one job created by SugarHouse.

Ninety-four instances of crimes have occurred on or near SugarHouse, an area that was once a vacant lot with little crime.

The briefing notes as well that the long-term costs of SugarHouse, including increased rates of addiction, bankruptcies, embezzlement, and suicide, are still unknown.

"The real costs of SugarHouse fall under the radar and fall most heavily on those suffering from Pathological and Problem Gambling and on their families," said Dan Hajdo, board member of Casino-Free Philadelphia. "Those costs, which are disproportionately experienced by minorities and low-income households, can't be added up easily. And they can't be justified at all," said Hajdo.

Read the SugarHouse one-year report from Casino-Free Philadelphia.

Casino-Free Philadelphia's mission is to stop casinos from coming to Philadelphia and close any that open. The social and economic costs of predatory gambling are plainly apparent from an industry reliant on addiction to survive. Visit us online at