John DiPaolo made his case for slot machines as he left Brothers, but he began with a caveat heard from several others: “Trafficwise, it could be a problem. Not a good idea.” Nevertheless, he continued, he’s a fan of such outlets.
“And it would create revenue for the city. And probably a few jobs. ... I think it would be good.”
His lunch companion, Megan Chamber, looked skeptical.
“I don’t think the mall is a good spot,” she said, raising concerns about the teens who populate the mall now. Even when DiPaolo suggested that entry to the slots parlor could be restricted to those 21 or older, she was unimpressed.
“Kids would try to sneak in,” she said. “... A casino isn’t a family place. And the mall is supposed to be a family place.”
Enjoying his lunch, former Salem Mayor Stanley Usovicz acknowledged, “It’s not necessarily the best of form of economic development.” On the other hand, he said, “It will create activity.” And that could benefit the area.
The idea pleased Kary Andrinopoulos, the owner of New Brothers Restaurant.
“It’s a good thing,” he said. “It will create more jobs, more taxes for the town — taxes from the business and the building.” At the same time, he also raised concerns regarding the traffic and suggested it should be carefully managed.
Despite the concerns about the impact on teens, when asked about the morality of allowing gambling in the area, no one raised an objection.
“Everybody is free to do everything they want,” Andrinopoulos said.