Billy would not be happy – but he isn’t the only one



Portrait of William (Billy) Penn

In a week a new casino will open in Philadelphia; it will be the first casino actually in the City of Brotherly Love, it will be the latest and the 10th casino in Pennsylvania; as such is getting a great deal of media attention.  First of course, writers and analysts are gleefully heaping ashes on the molting body of the casinos in Atlantic City. In their view, this is latest and most severe blow to hit the gaming revenues of the city made famous first by its Boardwalk. Without a doubt, a casino nestled into the heart of Philadelphia will be blow to AC casinos, but in a few months there will be a temporary casino in New York City and that will probably have more impact on Atlantic City than Sugar House in Philadelphia.  Each is joining the list of insults to the “East Coast Gambling Capital, it stated with Connecticut in 1992 when the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe converted its bingo hall into a casino.  However, the biggest threat to the success of Atlantic City casinos has been the slot machine casinos in Pennsylvania; table games were added in July, combine that with the 4 years of slot machines and Pennsylvania is hazardous to the health of Atlantic City; until 2006 customers from Pennsylvania represented between 50 and 60 percent of the customers for Atlantic City.

On the other hand, supporters of gaming in Philadelphia are celebrating; finally! Most cannot believe it took so long, probably including the investors who are now a year or two behind their competitors and will have to fight to get back some market share that has gone to other casinos in the interim; Philadelphia is the last of the major regions to get a casino – and with a little tip of the hat to Charles Darwin and his theories, it will be the smallest in clear recognition of current economic and competitive conditions.  There are supposed to be two, but the second one is still very much in doubt, without a permanent license, funding or a tangible plan it may be a long time before Philadelphia gets its second casino, although there are a couple close to the city. A blog on the opening put into perspective; the  Quakers founders wrote anti-gambling code into the very beginning of the city’s history – it may have taken a very long time, but Billy’s city is going to have a casino – Billy may be pissed and rolling around in his grave, but he isn’t alone, no one in Atlantic City will holding a parade to celebrate either.

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