Battle plans on the casino front

The state Assembly mandated two Philadelphia casinos in 2004, and the state Gaming Control Board named sites in Fishtown and South Philadelphia. But many in Philadelphia say it’s not a done deal. So far, they’re attacking on four fronts.

1) Ballot Question 

Should casinos be prohibited within 1,500 feet of homes, houses of worship, schools, playgrounds, parks, libraries and civic centers?  A 27,000-signature petition has been submitted to City Council to put that question on the May 15 ballot. Organized by Casino Free Philadelphia, the question needs 9 of 17 council votes to get on the ballot.

2) Frank DiCicco’s zoning attack

Councilman Frank DiCicco’s 1st District contains both casino sites. On Feb. 21, he introduced eight proposed zoning changes that would make casinos either illegal, more difficult to operate or subject to review by the city.

3) Possible City Council Appeal

City Council has retained a lawyer for a possible legal appeal against the decision of the Gaming Control Board.

4) Action in State Assembly

State Rep. Mike O’Brien has introduced legislation (HB 357) that would eliminate the five stand-alone casinos (not at a race track) authorized by the state. No action on that bill yet.

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