While AC is down, PA casinos thrive

November 17, 2008 2:58:02 PM PST
Revenue from slot machines in Atlantic City, New Jersey are down double digits from last year. Now, once hot operations are now looking at layoffs.

By contrast, Pennsylvania's slots revenues, statewide, are up almost 3.5%

While some think part of it is that Pennsylvania casinos are still pretty new, most think the big factor is location.

People who used to drive long distances to A.C. now find gambling in their own back yard.

"I was an avid goer, constantly, weekly probably to Atlantic City. In the last year, I've probably been there three times," said Eileen Walton of Northeast Philadelphia. She says the convenience, and the savings in gas money are some of the reasons she's curtailed her trips to Atlantic City.

Harrah's 100,000 foot gaming floor in Chester, Pa. is just 10 minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport, and a short drive for millions of would-be slots players.

"We are very close in proximity to a very large population, the Philadelphia metropolitan area," said Vince Donlevie, General Manager of Harrah's Chester.

Donlevie says another advantage is Harrah's brand name and services.

"We offer a wide variet of amenities from six restaurants and three lounges, on top of entertainment in our 'End Zone' outlet," Donlevie said.

But the big question mark for all casinos in this worsening economy, what will gamblers do in the coming months?

Answering that question seems to be a gamble all on its own.

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