The Philadelphia Neighborhood Alliance (the “Alliance”, formerly the Delaware River Neighborhood Alliance) is a coalition of 27 civic groups from across the city dedicated to responsible development and the protection of Philadelphia’s unique neighborhoods from the negative impacts of state mandated casinos. Governor Rendell has recognized the Alliance as the legitimate representative of the communities in the impact zone of the proposed SugarHouse and Foxwood casinos. The Alliance is not anti-casino, but member groups universally affirm a 1500 foot buffer zone between casinos and neighborhoods as a minimum standard for development.
Casinos Impact the Entire City, Not Just Isolated Neighborhoods
- Casinos near densely populated neighborhoods increase the number of gambling addicts, who bring tremendous social and financial costs with them. Other problems include increases in corruption, theft, drunk driving, assault and other crimes. The only way to mitigate the well-documented negative social impacts of casinos on an area is to site them responsibly, away from neighborhoods.
- The International Longshoremens Association (ILA) opposes the proposed riverfront locations, as they will paralyze the Port’s ability to move truck freight out of our region. The ILA has a long history in the Port of Philadelphia, offers family-sustaining wages and is 60% African American. Port business is expected to double over the next ten years, if unhindered, bringing tens of thousands of premium new jobs to our area.
- A riverfront casino like SugarHouse – less than 200 feet away from residences- threatens to stymie the most robust redevelopment area in the city (if not the entire Commonwealth). Northern Liberties was ranked 11th in the nation by Forbes as one of the “best places to buy a home”.
- There is no funding or provision for proper police protection, public safety and EMS. There are significant unanswered infrastructure and city utility questions. Traffic management plans are deplorable. There are no plans in place to sufficiently mitigate other social and developmental impacts, including gambling addiction, bankruptcies, undesirable ancillary development, and damage to existing dining, entertainment, and port uses on and near the riverfront. These impacts have never been assessed, which is why the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, an agency established by the State to provide fiscal oversight for Philadelphia, warns of the possible budget deficits caused by these casinos, despite the benefits they promote. (link to PICA- http://www.picapa.org/docs/Plan_Reports/2008_2012_plan.pdf)
If You Build It, More Will Follow
What starts out as one or two casinos frequently leads to proliferation of more gambling establishments. The State is already trying to locate slots barns in Valley Forge. Anyone’s neighborhood is vulnerable. Protect your neighborhood by joining the Alliance in its efforts to have casinos sited responsibly, away from residences, schools, parks and places of worship.
The Delaware River Is An Asset For The Entire City
- The riverfront should reflect the values of the people who live here. What we build now on the riverfront will forever after define the character of our city.
- We need a broad, civic-minded plan for the waterfront, like Chicago or New York. One that benefits Philadelphia.
- Slots Parlors, with their complexes designed to keep customers in and their multi-level parking garages, can be sited anywhere and will do less damage if sited away from thriving neighborhoods and businesses.
The Deleterious Effects of Casinos Are Lessened the Further They Are Sited Away From Neighborhoods
- The PICA report estimates that, given the currently proposed casino locations, Philadelphia will suffer the burden of 30,000 new gambling addicts (see above link). Using census data and State and Federal gaming studies, the potential new gambling addicts within one mile of both casinos is 609 to 1,305. The cost to the criminal justice system, minimum, per addict, according to the July 07 PICA report is $20,500/year. So the cost to the Philadelphia criminal justice system to cope with only those gambling addicts living within one mile of the casinos: $12,484,400 to $26,752,500/year.
- Responsible siting of casinos away from neighborhoods offers the only win-win situation for both the State and the City.