Though the American Gaming Association does not take a position on expanded gambling, we would like to respond to the baseless claims made in the June 8 editorial, “Too big a gamble for Pennsylvania.”
Gaming has been legal in Pennsylvania for nearly five years, and, during that time, casinos have not compounded social problems in gaming communities throughout the state. For example, state trooper reports from Monroe Country – home to Mount Airy Casino Resort – document virtually no increase in local crime rates. State Trooper Mark Barsotti previously said of crime near Erie’s casino, “Considering the number [of visitors], we’ve really had nothing noteworthy.” Likewise, there is no evidence to suggest that gambling disorders have spiked since the advent of Pennsylvania’s casinos.
In reality, casinos have afforded Pennsylvania many advantages. They provide more than 5,800 good-paying jobs and have generated billions of dollars in new economic development. Gaming community members routinely praise casinos as responsible, generous neighbors. J. R. Shaw, executive director of Pennsylvania’s Washington County Tourism Agency, recently called them “a great opportunity [for our community].”
We hope that, as the state legislature continues to consider expanded gambling, they favor reality over rhetoric and admit that the fears about gambling simply have not been realized.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association