I was disappointed to read Jack Markowitz’s sensational June 21 opinion piece, “Officials don’t see monster rising from The Rivers.”
Though casinos are new to Pittsburgh, gaming has been legal in Pennsylvania for nearly five years. During that time, critics’ fears that casinos will compound social problems have never been realized. Police reports from the state’s gaming communities document virtually no increase in local crime rates. In addition, the rate of gambling disorders has not increased with the advent of Pennsylvania’s casinos.
In fact, first-hand accounts from people living near Pennsylvania’s casinos show that they are valuable community partners. They have created thousands of jobs, encouraged new development and contributed generously to charities throughout the state. Frank Siffrin, manager of North Strabane Township, Pa. said of casinos, “You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor.” Sandy Wilson, director of sales and marketing at the Washington County, Pa. Holiday Inn said, “I think [casinos are] great for the community and the county.” These are familiar refrains among those who have experienced the true realities of casino gambling.
Your readers deserve the facts, and Markowitz’s claims are irresponsible and untrue. His fear mongering has no place in any reasonable conversation about gaming.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association