Harrah’s in Chester rails against second casino license in Philly

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     Ron Baumann, general manager at Harrah's Philadelphia Racetrack and Casino in Chester, says a second casino in Philadelphia would hurt business significantly at the establishment in the struggling city.(AP photo/Alex Brandon)

    Ron Baumann, general manager at Harrah's Philadelphia Racetrack and Casino in Chester, says a second casino in Philadelphia would hurt business significantly at the establishment in the struggling city.(AP photo/Alex Brandon)

    Harrah’s Philadelphia Racetrack and Casino says the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board should not grant a second casino license in Philadelphia.

    Harrah’s is located in the struggling city of Chester, but general manager Ron Baumann said many of its customers drive down from Philly. The region’s casino market, he said, is saturated.

    “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.

    Baumann added that Valley Forge Casino Resort, which opened in 2012, has cannibalized the local casino business. “The market has shrunk since they came in,” he said. “All we’re doing is moving customers around.” 

    Valley Forge is the only casino in Pennsylvania that has seen an increase in slot revenues — nearly 23 percent — over the last fiscal year. Harrah’s slot revenues dropped more than 12 percent during that period.

    The Gaming Control Board hasn’t given an exact date when it will decide on awarding the new casino license. Four companies are vying for the license to build a second casino within the city borders. Two propose establishments in Center City, while two others applications focus on South Philadelphia.

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