The auditorium at the Forum -- where the Gaming Control Board is prepping to meet in less than an hour -- is filling up with dark suits: Lobbyists. Lawyers. Financial types. And, of course, the folks who have the real stake in the game: the applicants vying for slots licenses.
Attorney Dick Sprague, who is part of the group pushing for a slots parlor on Delaware Avenue in Philly, is on hand bright and early, surrounded by well-wishers. "We're keeping our fingers crossed," he said. "The jury is out deliberating, and I never talk when the jury is out deliberating."
But he says he's not nervous. Just hopeful.
Ditto for Andy and Lucy Jurcak, but for different reasons. They bought a retirement home in Straban Township, near Gettysburg in 2002 -- never intending to spend their golden years with the proposed Crossroads casino project a mile away.
"There's been so much controversy, when it should be a no-brainer," said Andy, first of a number of anti-casino locals who began filing in an hour before the hearing.
Little do they know someone, at least, is looking out for them. That would be Fox, a 2-year-old German Shepherd and a proud member of the Capitol Police's K-9 unit. He too was on hand bright and early, sniffing away for bombs in the auditorium (with special attention paid to the stage where board members will be sitting).
The good news: no explosives on hand.
--AC and JS