An east target, a misguided notion
Why the people of Bethlehem, Pa., should be grateful for, not suspicious of, their new casino
By STEVE FRIESS
The day after the May 22 opening of the quite lovely Las Vegas Sands casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the local newspaper, the Express-News, ran with a news bulletin on its website: “Easy ways to stay safe at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem; two patrons report missing wallets.”
We then met Nancy Miller, 61, of New Joisey, who bought a snack at the food court and “shortly thereafter noticed her wallet missing,” and 25-year-old Dominique Alexander of Philadelphia, who left her wallet on a slot machine and “found it had been taken” when she returned.
Stop the presses! People lose shit! The intrepid journalist on the case turned to About.com for news-you-can-use tips on how not to let “loss, theft and other problems spoil your Memorial Day weekend fun at the casino,” which essentially boiled down to: Keep track of your shit.
Yes, this is an example of ridiculous journalism. There’s no chance any serious newspaper would have done a story on these careless people if they had misplaced their wallets at, say, a new Starbucks. Nor would they have drawn the inference that people need tips on how to stay safe at all coffeehouses.
But to me, it was more than that; it was the culmination of a couple of days focusing on a foreign land where a casino was a new and troublesome presence to many. As I covered the Sands opening, I was reminded yet again of how ridiculous the nation’s love-hate affair with Las Vegas and the gambling business has become.
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