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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pennsylvania: Airport gamble: Pittsburgh needs passengers, not players

Airport gamble: Pittsburgh needs passengers, not players

A Coraopolis legislator wants passengers waiting for flights at Pittsburgh International Airport to deposit their excess money in casino-style slot machines before they leave.
Democratic Rep. Nick Kotik said profits from slots could help the airport, which struggles to fill its sparsely populated terminal and gates. Fortunately, odds are this dubious venture is going nowhere.
Mr. Kotik proposed the idea last week at the Rivers Casino, where the House Gaming Oversight Committee met. The panel was there to discuss how Pennsylvania’s 12 casinos can succeed despite competition from neighboring states. So, when Mr. Kotik suggested adding more competition — this time, at the airport — the response from Rivers officials was polite and measured.
Outside of Nevada, where airports in Las Vegas and Reno offer slots, no U.S. airports have gambling machines. Efforts to install them at airports in Baltimore and Chicago failed, and a plan to put them at Honolulu’s airport is unlikely to pass since gambling is illegal in Hawaii.
Take your pick of reasons why this is a bad idea: Airport slots would compete with casinos. They’d exploit Pittsburgh travelers. They’d be near minors and families. They’d give a first (and last) impression that smart, classy Pittsburgh might rather not have.
Let what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas, and in Pennsylvania’s casinos. The airport needs traffic, yes — not gambling.

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