Gambling critics ignore Wynn's highbrow record
By STEVE FRIESS
As Philadelphia's gambling critics were jumping to groundless conclusions about Steve Wynn's plans for a waterfront casino in their city, Roger Thomas was musing about what it might actually look like.
Thomas is the visionary behind the look and feel of the Bellagio, Wynn, and Encore casinos in Las Vegas, as well as the Wynn casinos in Macau. Architectural Digest has named him one of the world's top 100 designers, and it gave him the prestigious gig of designing the backstage green room at the Kodak Theatre for this year's Academy Awards. That honor was the focus of my interview, but I also asked him about Philly.
"I've been thinking a lot about the history of Philadelphia," the Las Vegas native said. "It has one of the most important, oldest art museums in America, where the collection is presented like no other ... in period environments with furniture of the period, rather than being hung gallery style. ... They also have the Barnes collection, which, controversy aside, is the most important collection of post-Impressionist art, which is going to influence what we're going to do."
OK, so Thomas was already showing that he knows more about Philadelphia than the knee-jerk critics might suppose.
"Then I also look at the genesis of Philadelphia," Thomas went on. "No matter where you are in Philadelphia, you're always aware of the Federal period of architecture and the contributions of the Georgian period of architecture in England, and what that brought to institutional and residential architecture throughout the Eastern seaboard. So all of those things are combining in my head to form a new vocabulary to do our new project in Philadelphia."
Gosh, he sure doesn't sound like a scummy character looking to throw up some rundown slots box, does he? That was the purported basis for dismissals of Wynn by the Inquirer Editorial Board and others - that he would aim down-market.
But what's really behind the objections is the East Coast liberal elite's instinctive propensity to react badly to gambling. For some reason, the fact that the vast majority of casino-goers have no trouble keeping their spending within reason escapes these critics, who also tend to believe that poor people are stupid, defenseless, and without willpower.
Read the rest at here at Philly.Com. The comments are brilliant -- people telling *ME* I don't understand gambling. Ha!