Sylvester Stallone winked and brought his fist to his chest as if to say, "I know you'll do the right thing." Who could say no to that?
Appearing in a recorded video message, Stallone, famous for his movie role as hard-luck Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa, was part of a parade of celebrities and gambling executives who asked Pennsylvania state regulators last week for a casino license in Rocky's hometown.
For three days last week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board heard testimony from the applicants in advance of a Dec. 20 licensing vote.
Most of the testimony revolved around topics like business plans, financial backing and traffic studies, leavened by occasional celebrity cameos. Actor Bruce Willis recorded a video message, and other celebrities, including music producer Quincy Jones and Donald Trump, showed up in person.
Five competitors — professional casino operators with politically connected or celebrity investment partners — are vying for two slot-machine gambling licenses in Philadelphia, which could become the nation's biggest city with a casino.
One message from the casino hopefuls was that big names will be a free advertisement to draw gamblers to their establishments to spend money that will eventually become tax revenue for Pennsylvania.
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