Ian Cope of Cope Linder Architects told the Philadelphia Planning Commission Tuesday that the Sugarhouse Casino wants to expand along the Delaware River in a huge way. According to Cope, the plans call for extra retail, hotel, office and residential space.
As for what the expansion would do for the economy, Cope estimated the expansion would also create 600 construction jobs and 500 permanent positions.
Cope says the casino currently employs more than 1,000. The addition would add on a restaurant, poker room, 35-40 table games, hundreds more slot machines, a hotel tower with 250-350 rooms, and a six-floor parking garage that seemed to be the main concern of the Commissioners.
The proposal faced harsh opposition from Paul Boni, an attorney and board member of Stop Predatory Gambling. Boni said The Sugarhouse Casino uses the same model and the same machines that he believes are based on gambling addiction. What that is supposed to mean is unclear. Boni didn’t describe how the games that a vast majority use purely for entertainment purposes were based on gambling addiction, but he did say he believed that most of the casino’s revenues come from addicts.
Of course, Boni had no evidence to back his claim, but the numbers did support Cope’s proposal for expansion.
Looking at the financial results reported by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, revenue from the casino business: blackjack, craps and other table games soared by 58.4 percent at the state’s casinos in August compared with the same month in 2010. Additionally, the play from gamblers produced a total of $54.8 million in revenue at 10 casinos, including Presque Isle Downs & Casino. That compares with just $34.6 million in August 2010, when only nine casinos were operating.