"They're going to be appreciative they have a job right here in Philadelphia. We're in a time of economic crisis," Mayor Nutter said.
The state gaming control boss says casinos statewide have created 8,000 jobs.
"You name me another industry in Pennsylvania that, over the last two years, has created another 8,000 jobs. I'll tell you 'You don't have to think long. There are none," said Gregory Fajt.
Protestors were kept from the groundbreaking ceremony by private security. Still, they blasted the idea the casino will be an economic shot in the arm, claiming local slots will actually cost jobs.
Also, they say, the dollars gambled away at Sugarhouse will not be spent in existing restaurants, movie theaters and museums, which will trigger layoffs.
"We can't accept a predatory industry, coming into our city, that leads to job losses," said protestor Jethro Heiko.
Sugarhouse plans to open its doors by the Delaware River in about 10 months.