Last month, my neighborhood helped to make Philadelphia the largest city in the country with a legally-sanctioned casino.
SugarHouse Casino opened in mid-September, as scheduled.
The six-year battle to bring casinos to Philadelphia is not one I want to remark much on. If you want to hear argue for or against the existence of casinos in urban communities, you’ve come to the wrong place. Isaiah Thompson at Citypaper is downright obsessed with reporting on why casinos are in the net bad for communities.
That’s not what I’m writing here for.
By the time I bought my home in Fishtown, the neighborhood that the casino arguably resides within, SugarHouse was already coming. That argument was over with.
What was still up for debate were two issues that I did care about, if a casino was going to come to my neighborhood.
- I wanted the casino to embrace, enhance and help develop its portion of the Delaware River waterfront, so we could start embracing this beautiful asset of ours and do so through the sensible, efficient use of commercial development.
- I wanted table games to supplement slots machines so, in my experience, if there was going to be gambling, it might go beyond the droning, heartless slots. (Basically, I have friends who would play blackjack for a night socially; they wouldn’t dump coins in a machine).
This weekend, I enjoyed the beautiful weather by taking a leisurely stroll through the casino’s compact 45,000 square-foot innards and the compound that surrounds it. In an hour’s time, my initial reaction was that, if a casino were to come to Philadelphia and considering much of the debate and compromise that has come with it, what SugarHouse is to date isn’t so terrible.