Philadelphia Considers Slots at Airport

Philadelphia City Council could ask Pennsylvania lawmakers to approve slot machines at Philadelphia International Airport, with profits going to city schools.

Philadelphia City Council has indicated it is considering whether or not to ask Pennsylvania lawmakers to approve slot machines for Philadelphia International Airport, with proceeds going to the city’s struggling public schools.

According to a report in the Philadelphia Daily News, council will decide over the next few weeks whether or not to push for the airport slots, which would require a new law from the state legislature. Current state law only provides for 14 state-sanctioned casinos, at stand-alone locations, racetracks and resort hotels.

In an interview with the newspaper, Councilman Jim Kenney said slots could fill downtime for travelers while providing a new avenue for school funding. “Years ago, when we were having the whole casino debate, it was suggested that one of the ways to keep (casinos) out of the neighborhood was to take it to the airport,” Kenney said. “There, you have a captive audience of ticketed players waiting for planes, or waiting for connections, with nothing to do. Maybe they put their money in a slot machine.”

Kenney pointed out that slot machines at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas earned that city around $37 million last year. “If Harrisburg is looking for non-tax revenue ways to provide additional money for schools, this is a perfect opportunity,” he said. “It may be a bit of a heavy lift as it relates to the gaming commission and the legislature, but I think it’s worth at least examining.”