The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, December 29, 2005  

And the Bets are On

Today’s papers report -- “Placing Their Bets,” by Suzette Parmley in the Philadelphia Inquirer and “Five Investor Groups Apply for City Casino Licenses,” by Chris Brennan in the Philadelphia Daily News -- that at least five companies will vie for the two available permits for slots parlor operations in Philadelphia, a group that includes some of the usual suspects -- separately, Donald Trump and Foxwoods -- and a few surprises, including an entity calling itself Sugar House Gaming.

Just one question: Any, um, bets how many years the two eventual “winners” in Philadelphia, along with their companions running similar enterprises of state-sponsored theft around this state, will “endure,” under what they no doubt will call “great hardship,” before they start complaining -- and lobbying to the effect that -- they aren’t making, and that they won’t and they just can’t make enough money from slot machines alone, and therefore that they have to, they just must, be allowed to install the full gamut of casino table games in order to earn a decent profit, this ill-defined number cast as a “reasonable return” to “stakeholders,” and a figure I’m sure they will aver is needed to “remain competitive with other ‘gaming’ alternatives in the region,” the region in question extending from Atlantic City, N.J., all the way to Connecticut, north, and Mississippi, south, if not to Nevada, west, and beyond?

I’m giving it two years, tops.

Mark my words now: This has been, is, will be, and will have been a huge mistake from the get-go, one we will regret for decades to come.

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