Gambling: Not Your Father's Poconos

Real Estate Agent with Davis R. Chant, REALTORS RS301772

slot lightsIt hurts my heart to think that my beloved Poconos are going become a mini Atlantic City with a few thousand slot machines...and heaven knows what else will slither in with them. Honestly, is that really what the Poconos is all about? What happened to cabins on a lake, getting "lost" in nature...getting away from all the crap?

Now, the crap is encroaching and it appears that very few people care.

The Pocono Record reported in July that the Middle Smithfield Township Board of Supervisors decided to send a letter of support to the state Gaming Commission on behalf of Fernwood Resort, which wants to install 500 slot machines. What caught my eye was the well written first paragraph, stating that the supervisors planned to send a letter of support "though nearly everyone attending Thursday's supervisors meeting opposed it."

I had to read more,, the township residents better vote these guys out of their positions next election...when I noticed that there were only twelve residents in attendance, and nine were opposed.

TWELVE? There were only TWELVE RESIDENTS in attendance for such an important meeting? I'm assuming that the rest of theneon township is either eagerly supporting the coming of gaming to the Poconos...but I'm betting that the majority either were ignorant of the goings-on, or just don't care.

Perhaps they are resigned to the inevitable. Mount Airy Resort has their army of over 2000 slot machines installed and though I guess there is still some "investigation" going on. Let's not even talk about the supposed mob ties of resort owner Louis DeNaples...for Pete's sake...didn't the Mafia build Las Vegas? Who did we think was going to build the casinos in the Poconos? The Boy Scouts?

A line in the article made me almost cry: "This is not your father's Poconos anymore."


I'm hoping that the community around Lake Wallenpaupack will band together and work hard to keep DeNaples and his ilk from bringing this dirty business here. And hopefully, more than twelve people will show up at public supervisor meetings should the issue ever arise.

Over the summer I was contacted by some folks who wanted to sell their half-acre lots in Fawn Lake Forest. They purchased the land sometime in the late 1970's or early 1980's for nearly $30,000 after being told that "Casinos were coming! The land is going to be worth a fortune!" Now, they wanted to sell them - for over 20 years the owners have been paying hundreds of dollars a year in taxes and association dues, in hopes that the investment would pay off. At the time I spoke to these potential sellers, similar lots were selling for $7000 - $9000 each. I felt so bad for them...I could feel their disappointment. Another person call who owns real estate in Paupackan Lake Estates askd me if I thought the "gambling coming to the Poconos" would increase the property value of their little lot in PLE. Doubtful, since the "gambling" right now is not in the immediate area - the only gambling around here, thank heavens, is the bingo games and the PA Lottery.

Of course, as Fawn Lake Forest in Pike County and Paupackan Lake Estates in Wayne County grow in popularity, and the lots become scarce as new homes are built, the value of the real estate will increase. I don't think these people, who were counting on a new Atlantic City to double their investment (or whatever the smooth talking sheister told them) will ever see their money back.

Gambling on gambling. The irony.

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Karen E. Rice is a real estate agent working in Pike & Wayne County of Northeastern PA in the Pocono Mountains. Lake Wallenpaupack is one of Pennsylvania's most popular destinations for vacations, retirement, and purchasing a home.

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Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon
I often wonder how many Oregonians still go to Reno and Vegas - since we have several casinos here - all of them are on Indian Reservations... plus almost every tavern, bar or lounge has state ran video poker and keno -
Oct 08, 2007 12:20 PM #1
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Karen, when we first moved to Colorado we use to go up to a little gold town called Central City.  It had all these cute little shops.  I will never forget the first time we went there they were filming Centennial.  We were camping and just looking for a grocery store.  Anyway long story short gambling came to Central City, all the stores are gone, crime is up and actually most people don't even make it down to Central City, instead stopping at Blackhawk because it is just down the road and has the bigger casinos.  Obviously you have hit a nerve with this post.  So far here in Texas we only have the lottery, everyone goes to Lousiaina that wants to gamble and I'm hoping it stays that way.
Oct 08, 2007 01:34 PM #2
Paula Henry
Home to Indy Team @ HomeSmart Realty Group - Avon, IN
Realtor - Indianapolis Real Estate - 317-605-4174

Karen - How sad for your area and the beautiful Poconos. I just had a converstaion the other day about when Las Vegas was the only place you could gamble and now so many states have gambling, even here in the middleof Indiana.



Oct 08, 2007 06:07 PM #3
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Karen-Gambling brings crime and pawn shops! How sad is that! We have a lot of gambling on Indian Reservations here. But here the Indian Reservations are right in the middle of big towns and you can not even tell the difference when driving through. I hope you can gather the opposition together and keep gambling out of your beautiful Poconos. Katerina
Oct 08, 2007 11:33 PM #4
Victor DaGraca
Critical Home Inspections - Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach Home Inspections

I like the irony... gambling on gambling.

A lot of RE investors (gamblers) are being squeezed right now. I wonder which is the biggest gamble, slot machines or the dirt lot?

20 years ago I bought a lot in FLF from the FLF water Co., at foreclosure, paid $1000.... got a winters worth of cord wood out of it and sold it 6 months later for $1,750...

I'd really like to meet those folk that paid $30,000 back in '80.....  got some sand to sell....

Oct 09, 2007 12:38 AM #5
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

THANK YOU everyone, for the comments. 

Thesa - have the casinos adversely affected the "atmosphere" of your area, or are they basically just "there"?  I hate just the LOOK of them, let alone what they stand for.  I'm just so "country" - I prefer log homes and chalets over neon lights and huge buildings.  If I want that, I'll go to NYC for the day.

Marchel - that is what I am afraid of.  As it is the "little shops" struggle... I really don't think that this kind of stuff will come to Lake Wallenpaupack in the very near future...but what about ten to fifteen years down the road? 

Paula - you know, I was fine with Atlantic City, the Mississippi River, and Las Vegas as the "gambling centers".

Katerina - I had no idea Indian Reservations were in the middle of a metropolis...I guess the city built up around them?  I figured they were "out in the countryside" somewhere.  

Victor - I tell you, I nearly choked when they told me how much they paid for this basic little lot that was in the middle of the development, not near a lake or any amenities, and taking into consideration that the home owner association dues in FLF have been creeping up even for vacant lots...right now a vacant lot is almost as much as an improved lot for dues.   

Oct 09, 2007 04:19 AM #6
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Agent
I am the worlds worst gambler.  It is now just a spectator sport for me. I even try watching poker on TV and mess it all up.  LOL 
Oct 09, 2007 07:23 AM #7
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Karen- You drive right through it on State road 441 right through big towns. I was so surprised the first time I drove to the Casino. It is on a busy road in the middle of everything. Now we have an even bigger Hard Rock with a huge casino there. It is hard to tell where the reservation begins and ends except for the cheaper cigarettes for sale. Katerina
Oct 09, 2007 12:24 PM #8
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Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales
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