Architectural Gimmicks Can’t Make Casinos Safe Economic Bets

Despite evidence that casinos are not generators of urban economic growth and that the northeastern U.S. is nearing gaming oversaturation, Philadelphia continues to look forward to its second state-approved casino license. Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the city hoped for a decision from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board by summer’s end.

Recent weeks have seen a couple new developments. One bidder put forward a proposal for an off-brand Space Needle as part of their proposed complex. Philadelphians needn’t worry about appearing hopelessly provincial — it’ll be 10 feet taller than its Seattle counterpart! (The derivative embarrassment would grow greater in 2015, when, across the Delaware River, Camden hopes to open a Space Needle knockoff amid its menagerie of riverfront boondoggles.)

Last week, the field narrowed when Penn National Gaming dropped out, leaving four contenders. The company president’s press release= didn’t just contain the usual

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