IT’S EITHER one of the greatest things to happen to the city in years or the scourge that will destroy us all. All depends on whom you talk with.
SugarHouse Casino will officially open its doors on the Delaware waterfront today, straddling the border of Fishtown and Northern Liberties and beginning the era of legalized gambling in Philadelphia.
Casino supporters say the gaming hall will be an economic engine that will revitalize the city. Opponents say introducing gambling into depressed neighborhoods is like putting a match to dried tinder, enflaming existing problems people may have with money, relationships and jobs.
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But the debate is over. The casino is here. The two sides will have to live side-by-side.
“There’s not a lot of trust from one side to the other,” said Harris Sokoloff, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and faculty director for the Penn Project on Civic Engagement. “But if they work to build trust, they could create something very few places have created.”
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