January 27, 2009

Independence from casinos declared

Activists “Declare Independence” From Casinos in PhiladelphiaJust as the Foxwoods Casino is about to begin the formal approval process to build in the Gallery Mall, activists today began a counter campaign. Casino-Free Philadelphia launched its “Declaration of Independence from Casinos” campaign to pressure city officials to block gambling altogether. The event staged near Independence Hall featured a handful of demonstrators dressed in Colonial-era clothing who believe citizens have a right to live in city without casinos.

Comment:  Excellent use of political symbolism here. I wouldn't be surprised if this event got a lot of coverage in the local media.

Of course, it's also common to use Indians as symbols of political rebellion (e.g., the Boston Tea Party). The activists could dressed as Indians and knocked over a few (fake) slot machines. But that wouldn't have worked in this case, since the activists are protesting against Indians.

For more on the subject, see Chinatown vs. Foxwoods and The Facts About Indian Gaming.


Adair Hill said...

I am confused. What are the gambling laws in PA?

Rob said...

The state has approved building two casinos in Philadelphia, including one owned by the Mashantucket Pequots of Connecticut. But many Philadelphians oppose the idea of having casinos in their midst.

Here's the official situation:


The board is authorized to issue up to 14 licenses for slot machine operations only. Seven licenses may be issued to existing horse race tracks, or racinos, five licenses may be issued to stand-alone casinos, and two licenses may be issued to existing hotel resorts. All can have up to 5,000 machines, except the last two resort licensees, which can have up to 500. The Act also mandated that two of the five stand-alone casinos be located in Philadelphia, one in Pittsburgh, and the remaining two at-large. As of July 2008, 11 of the licenses have been awarded. The remaining three are in the licensing process and include one more racino license and the two smaller resort licenses.

Stand-alone casinos

* SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia (yet to begin construction)

* Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia (yet to begin construction)

* Rivers Casino Pittsburgh (opening 2nd or 3rd quarter 2009)

* Mount Airy Casino Resort, Paradise Township, Monroe County (Stroudsburg area) (opened October 22, 2007)

* Sands BethWorks, Bethlehem (Lehigh Valley area) (opening 2nd or 3rd quarter 2009)