Though the American Gaming Association does not take a position on expanded gambling, we would like to respond to the baseless claims made in Monday's editorial "Too big a gamble for Pennsylvania."

Gaming has been legal in Pennsylvania for nearly five years, and, during that time, casinos have not compounded social problems in gaming communities throughout the state. For example, state trooper reports from Monroe Country - home to Mount Airy Casino Resort - document virtually no increase in local crime rates. Likewise, there is no evidence to suggest that gambling disorders have spiked since the advent of Pennsylvania's casinos.

In reality, casinos have afforded Pennsylvania many advantages. They provide more than 5,800 well-paying jobs and have generated billions of dollars in new economic development. Community members routinely praise casinos as responsible, generous neighbors. We hope that, as the state legislature continues to consider expanded gambling, it favors reality over rhetoric and admits that the fears about gambling simply have not been realized.

Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr.

President and CEO

American Gaming Association

Washington