Steel City is now Sin City

January 26, 2012 4:12 pm

Just as Pennsylvania surpassed Atlantic City to become the second largest gambling mecca in the country, police were busting a prostitution ring at the Sands casino in Bethlehem.

What happens in Bethlehem now stays in Bethlehem. Officials tried to downplay the discovery of a prostitution ring. But studies show that where casinos locate there is an increase in crime.

The Sands sits on the site of a former steel plant in Bethlehem. The dichotomy is a perfect example of the broader economic shift in the country that used to make things but now mostly takes or consumes things.  

Gamblers spent $3.02 billion at Pennsylvania’s 10 casinos in 2011, up 21.6 percent from the previous year. That edged out Atlantic City, which reported $2.95 billion in revenues, a 9.5 percent decrease from 2010. Think that money is making a difference inPennsylvania? Well, we all know how those billions streaming into Atlantic City have done little to help that town. 
 
Pennsylvania officials may be proud about the state’s new No. 2 ranking in gambling revenue. But that is nothing to boast about. That means the state extracted $3 billion in wealth from taxpayers, many of whom can least afford it. Nothing was made or produced in return for that money – unless you consider spin off businesses like the prostitution ring.

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