A state Supreme Court ruling Tuesday means that slot machines and table games could be up and running soon at the Valley Forge Convention Center. Another local gambling hall should support the compelling theory that the region's casino market might already be maxed out.
That's potentially good news for Philadelphia, if it convinces state policymakers to steer clear of saddling the city with a second casino to replace the failed Foxwoods project on the Delaware River.
One casino for the city is one too many, given the social costs of gambling. But the lower revenues on all-important slots at the SugarHouse Casino is an indication that patrons are a bit tapped out - what with Parx in Bensalem and Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack in Delaware County, and another betting parlor just an hour away in Bethlehem.
The Valley Forge legal case itself was hard-fought, with a would-be competitor - the owner of top-grossing Parx - challenging whether the center met the definition of a resort under the state's 2004 gaming law. A slim, 3-2 majority on the high court ruled that it did, but not without two justices feeling the urge to pen dissents.
Of the two dissents, Justice J. Michael Eakin's is noteworthy if only for the unique, er, legal test that Eakin would apply in concluding that the center is hardly a resort.
He suggests that state Gaming Control Board members say to their significant others, " 'Honey, I'm taking you for a romantic weekend at a well-established resort hotel.' " Upon arriving at the center, Eakin suggests that they "see what your loved one says."
Eakin says he is convinced the center, "enclosed by the turnpike and major arteries, surrounded by apartment complexes, office parks, and sprawling shopping malls" in an area "overrun with traffic," won't measure up to resort standards.
So, maybe the justice will never be comped at the new King of Prussia "resort" casino. But three of his court colleagues, led by Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, ruled that the array of amenities at the center - including "fantasy-themed suites," Jacuzzi-style bathrooms, pool, saunas, and the like - meets the gaming law's standards.