Harrah’s Slams Idea of Second Casino for Philadelphia

Harrah's says the competition from another casino would be too much for the racino based in Chester.

While there are many in the city of Philadelphia who believe the city could use a second casino — a worker at a pizza shop I frequent said SugarHouse is “probably the smartest thing the city’s ever done” the other day — others say the city doesn’t even need one casino and certainly not a second. Hmm, who to trust? Hey, how about a racetrack casino in Chester!

Harrah’s Chester has come out in opposition to a second casino in the city. One can make the obvious inference that, well, a new casino would take away from their business at Harrah’s Philadelphia (which, like the Philadelphia Union soccer team, is in Chester). To be fair: While Harrah’s was involved in 2010 in a partnership to build and open the stalled Foxwoods casino, it didn’t bid in 2012 when the process was reopened.

Then general manager Ron Baumann kind of undercut his argument when he made a weird comparison anyway.

“There [are] only so many people that enjoy gaming and entertainment, just like there [are] so many people that go to Wawa or Walmart or Nordstrom,” Baumann said.

Should have used different stores! Like a Wawa that usually takes all your money, or a Walmart that once every few months gives you $300 in winnings. Also, I would like more Wawa locations and a big box store now that the Kmart has closed — yeah, a Walmart will do — downtown. (My friend is always, “Where will I buy shower curtains now?”) And I eagerly await the Nordstrom Rack opening on Chestnut Street. A better argument, which Baumann makes, is that the Valley Forge casino took a lot of the gambling market when it opened two years ago.

No word on when the Gaming Control Board will announce its decision on Philadelphia’s second license, which will be built in either South Philly or downtown.