Philadelphians like the idea of slots invading the city—well, at least in Fishtown, according to a recent Pew survey.
Residents don’t, however, support a casino on Market Street East in Center City.
Fifty-three percent of the 800 people surveyed are in favor of slots-machine gambling in Philadelphia. Forty-one percent oppose.
These numbers show a shift in resident’s beliefs when compared to the 2007 Philadelphia Keystone Mayoral Poll. Voters in that survey believed casinos would have a more negative impact on the city (49 percent said casinos in Philadelphia would be more negative than positive, while 45 percent responded casinos would be more positive than negative).
“This could be because people are more accustomed to the idea, they’ve heard about it a lot. It could also be because of the economy and the budget problems. People may be more open to projects that could produce more jobs or could produce more revenue,” said Philadelphia Research Initiative project director Larry Eichel.
The Pew survey also asked locals to weigh in on the locations of two controversial casinos : SugarHouse Casino on the Delaware River in Fishtown and Market Street East in Center City. Sixty percent think Fishtown is a good location for SugarHouse, while 35 percent oppose.
But when asked about the Foxwoods 8th and Market Street location, 57 percent are against the locale, only 39 percent are in favor. Foxwoods has faced stiff opposition from local coalitions and residents over this location, many from nearby Chinatown.
So, why are residents more inclined to have a casino operating in Fishtown than in Center City?
“They could support Fishtown because it’s a site they’re not going to see. It’s out of the way. It’s not in the heart of the city. The Market Street location is in the heart of the city and it’s something people would see every day,” said Eichel.
Both casino plans are supported by Mayor Michael Nutter and could open for business in about a year. Sugarhouse is waiting for the green light from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and Foxwoods needs a zoning change.