It’s Philly, not Vegas

May 20, 2003 12:36 AM

Philadelphia may be willing to taste Las Vegas style gambling, but the Keystone State’s largest city isn’t ready to take a full swallow.

"We are striving to become a cultural mecca, not a gambling mecca," said Philadelphia Mayor John Street last week. "I don’t ever want to compete with Atlantic City. I don’t want to compete with Las Vegas."

Street said he favors Gov. Rendell’s attempts to bring slots to race tracks, though the problem for Philadelphia is that it doesn’t have a racetrack.

"If this is about making money, we ought to just go out and make money," Republican state House Speaker John Perzel said last week. "He’d like a casino near the Convention Center."

Philadelphia Daily News

Gambling makes losers

Writer Jeffrey Shaffer recalls the year 1978 when he drove an airline shuttle van up and down the Las Vegas Strip.

"I would overhear numerous debates about the best ways to bet on a pair of dice, the roulette wheel or cards in a multiple-deck game of blackjack”¦About the only thing serious gamblers agreed on was that slot machines must have been invented by P.T. Barnum."

Empower America founder William Bennett told Newsweek he preferred mechanized gambling because of the privacy it gave him. "Las Vegas casinos must be shedding tears now that Bennett admitted his gambling days are over.

"State lotteries love gambling machines because they bring in so much money. Promoters say it’s a form of entertainment. Maybe it is to the people who own the machines. Would it be more accurate to call that scenario a dark comedy, psychological mystery, or just your basic horror movie?"

Christian Science Monitor