For Good or Ill…It’s Slots Time in the ‘Burgh!
It appears that August 9th will take its place among the most important days of the year for thousands of Pittsburghers, visitors to Pittsburgh, and people who are addicted to …or enjoy gambling.
August 9th is the day the new Rivers Casino – after years of contention, legal battles and planning – will be introduced to the public on the North Shore of the city.
This is the day that thousands of people have looked forward to for those same years and it’s also the year that opponents of legalized gambling have dreaded.
There are those who believe a casino of this magnitude is the answer to Pittsburgh’s prayers and there are also those who think that gambling, instead of solving Pittsburgh’s financial problems, will exacerbate them.
There’s no question that there is no middle ground on this issue. You either believe that we’re headed in the right direction or we’re headed in the wrong direction.
Be that as it may – the Rivers Casino is a fact and it’s with us – for better or worse!
One big question is…will it live up to expectations for those who have been anticipating its opening? It’s been a rollercoaster ride with all its ups and downs. It may be a pale imitation of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but it’s here – like it or not.
Detroit businessman Don Barden won the slots license in December 2006 but failed to secure permanent financing for the $780 million venture. The whole project was on shaky ground since that time, but after a series of crises it now is a reality in all its splendor…17 months later than originally planned but saved, thanks to Chicago billionaire Neil Bluhm who took over the project in midstream.
A lot of politicians are pinning their hopes on the casino; hopes that it will be the big revenue producer that they have been predicting. But there it is – 3,000 slot machines strong with more on the way eventually!
A lot of people have the date – August 9th circled in red on their calendars. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for the city and for all of us. But for those super optimistic politicians anticipating a huge financial largess from the slots, be reminded of these ancient wise words of caution…
…if wishes were horses…beggars would ride!
Robert W. Dickey
Broadcast: July 31, August 1, 2, 2009
State Rep. Dom Costa from Stanton Heights, is introducing a bill that would create a state receivership to work in tandem with the state Public Utility Commission overseeing improvements at Pittsburg's troubled water and sewer authority. Like Act 47 they would approve budgets, set priorities and decide capital improvements to the system. However IMG Consultants, hired by the city to review PWSA, said that calls for state oversight is premature and could complicate financial maneuvers, with some residents preferring it be handled by local officials rather than under state supervision as was the case in Flint Michigan.
KQV/TribLIVE.COM Listener Poll Do you agree that Pittsburgh is ready to emerge from Act 47 distressed status?