Activists demonstrate at PA casino hearing

    A hostile crowd greeted developers of two Philadelphia casinos when they testified before the state Gaming Control Board in Harrisburg yesterday.

    A hostile crowd greeted developers of two Philadelphia casinos when they testified before the state Gaming Control Board in Harrisburg yesterday.

    Listen:
    [audio: reports20090409gaming.mp3]

    Anti-casino hecklers booed and hissed throughout SugarHouse Casino investor Neil Bluhm’s testimony, and chanted “shame” as he and other developers left the hearing room.

    Philadelphia native Lai Har Chaung says she came to protest the projects because her parents both suffered through gambling addictions.

    Chaung: There are many stories like mine, but not everyone is telling them. So I want to make sure that they hear my story. And that they know that families are going to be impacted, and that children’s lives are at stake.

    Leaving the hearing, Bluhm said the protesters don’t represent the majority of Philadelphia residents, insisting the community and political leaders are behind the project.

    Bluhm: People have the right to express themselves. I think they should do it in an orderly and courteous manner.

    Bluhm and other SugarHouse executives told the Gaming Board they expect the casino to bring in $240 million a year once it’s up and running.

    Meanwhile, executives from the other casino planned for Philadelphia, Foxwoods, told the Board they have reached an agreement to purchase space in a new Center City location, the Strawbridge’s building at 8th and Market streets.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.