The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has released minimal information recently in the hearings for Philadelphia’s second casino license. However, many Philadelphians are still vocal about the subject. Some are in favor of building a second casino in Philadelphia and would welcome a potential economic boost to the city. Others believe a second casino could have too many negative consequences and are against the idea.
Colleen Puckett is the director of communications at Friends Select School, one of the organizations to successfully intervene in The Provence casino proposal hearings in February. Puckett said one of the underlying concerns of Friends Select School is a casino’s potential to steer parents away from the school.
“As an independent Quaker school, we’re in an extremely competitive business environment,” said Puckett. “If you had your choice of two fabulous Quaker schools, one located within walking distance of a casino and one not, which one would you go to?
Veronica Joyner is the founder and chief administrative officer of The Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School of Philadelphia. Joyner is trying to put a stop to The Provence casino that is proposed to be built across the street from her school on North Broad Street.
“I just didn’t see schools and children and casinos going together at all,” said Joyner. “(This area) is just not an environment that is conducive to casinos.”
Dan Hajdo is a member of the Board of Directors at Casino-Free Philadelphia, an organization dedicated to stopping casinos coming to the city. Hajdo and the other members of his organization try to educate people about the issues that come with casinos and what can be done to stop them coming to the city.
John Donnelly is the founder of Donnelly and Associates, P.C. and SugarHouse Casino’s legal representation in its fight against the second casino proposal in Philadelphia. Donnelly testified on behalf of SugarHouse at meetings held in front of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in Harrisburg. According to Donnelly, the main concern of SugarHouse is that it is already surrounded by competition outside of central Philadelphia and a second casino in the city would severely cut into its revenue stream.
Francine Roberts works in the hospitality industry in Center City and thinks that the Market8 proposal is an excellent location for the city. Roberts is a strong advocate of the Market8 proposal because she thinks that the casino would encourage tourists to visit the area and help revitalize East Market Street
“A lot of tourists frequent this area because of the historic district,” said Roberts. “I think (a casino) would inspire businesses that exist in this area to beautify.”
– Text and images by Steven Thornton and Kevin Harkins