Editorial: Slots for tots

Posted: June 19, 2010

The arrest of a Philadelphia man who left his 15-month-old son in a car while he gambled inside Parx Casino underscores the powerful pull of gambling. This incident should be cause for alarm, but state regulators and casino operators may instead respond by offering services to cater to addicted gamblers with children.

In the interest of making gaming, ah, safer for kids, here are a few suggestions. How about a tot lot with toy slot machines for the little rollers, while dad gambles away the rent money? Or maybe sleepover nights with free screenings of Night at the Museum, while the parents roll the dice.

Maybe the casino valets should patrol the parking lot handing out lollipops to entertain crying toddlers left in idling cars.

Clearly we jest, but somewhere a casino mogul probably thinks these ideas have legs. Then again, the business plan of any casino is to keep customers glued to the slot machines for hours on end, and coming back for more.

No clocks, flashing lights, free drinks, a fabulous buffet, and the seductive lure of easy money: Who wouldn't become just a bit forgetful in such a setting?

Gov. Rendell and his gaming supporters are free to tout the tax revenues pouring into state coffers, but the long-term destructive impact of gambling on many families continues to eat away at the state's winnings.

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