Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Economic Costs of Casinos

The Mayor and Board of Aldermen say their motivation is economic development for Natchez. Casino operators tend to locate where there are "local yocals" who fall for their glorious tales of positive economic benefits. However, all of the legitimate research that has been done by unbiased economists and other academics show exactly the opposite.

The research shows that legalized gambling eventually causes

  • increased taxes

  • loss of jobs

  • economic disruption of other businesses

  • increased crime

  • large social welfare costs for society in general and government agencies

    • For every $1 that gambling brings in taxes, it costs the tax payer at least $3. Gambling makes poor people poorer, causing a drain on social welfare agencies.


      With the exception of gambling related businesses like pawnshops, new businesses do not want to locate near casinos, and existing businesses tend to close. Casinos draw from only a 35-50 mile radius, and they kill off any entertainment, restaurant, and hotel businesses in the area and deplete the income available for retail businesses. Any businesses that do survive will experience increased absenteeism and decreased productivity. Interestingly, the best workers - the Type A personalities - are the most likely to become pathological gamblers.


      In order to understand why gambling has these effects, you need to understand that about 80% of gambling revenues come from only the 10% of the population that gambles heavily. In other words, casinos feed off the addicts - they're like legalized drug dealers.


      The baseline rate of gambling addiction is about .75%. Addiction usually doubles within a 50 mile radius of a casino and increases the closer you get. Poverty increases the chances of addition. Nevado has an addiction rate of 3.5%, but probably due to poverty levels, Mississippi has a rate of 4.9%. So thanks to casinos, we are the poorest and the most addicted state in the country.


      Gambling addiction is a serious and destructive disorder that is very hard to treat. Desparate to recover from losses, the addict follows a predictable path. They start by exhausting personal resources, maxing out credit cards, selling insurance policies, selling possessions, borrowing from family and friends. Then they turn to crimes, like fraud, embezzlement, theft, robbery, and violent crimes. Bankruptcy rates are 100% higher in counties with casinos than without. Finally, they may resort to suicide. Nevada has the highest suicide rate in the country.


      Will our City officials fall for the bull being fed them by the drug dealing casinos? Or will they pay attention to the overwhelming research showing the devastating effect of casinos? I'm afraid of the answer.


      Coming to your riverfront?

      10 comments:

      Anonymous said...

      Complete BS! This is the same BS we heard when gaming was voted on years ago. Just take a look at the statistics on Tunica and the Coast. There may be some negative statistics that you can dig-up, but you cannot argue the positive economic impacts. We don't need to be another coast or Tunica, but some competition for the Isle will be a good thing especially if they do a better job with marketing and bringing in junkets and such.

      Anonymous said...

      BS?? Ok, anonymous, but I won't sell my soul for a mess of porridge. So, we heard the same thing when we voted on casinos years ago. Nobody listened, and look what happened. What makes you think the new one would do better? Same old same old. Get rid of the junk on our waterfront and in our town!!!!

      Anonymous said...

      So now you want get rid of the Isle of Capri too? That is smart. Put 300 more people on the street without jobs and healthcare, reduce the city budget dramaticaly, and take away a major sponsor of almost every big event that takes place here. Great idea idiot.

      hootenrosie said...

      NOBODY thinks gambling is any sillier than I do. BUT...
      we simply don't have the traffic to support retail or amusement venues and we are going to be condo-ed out pretty soon and it has long been true that one restaurant opens - one closes so what else is there but casinos?
      I do wonder if there is (economic) room for even one more of those (but not MY money).

      Anonymous said...

      That's the problem:

      "What else is there other than Casinos?" asks anonymous above.

      Bingo! That's the whole problem. The city and business leaders of Natchez can't we think beyond Casinos?

      And this is because: WE ARE LAZY, GREEDY AND STUPID all at the same time.

      The rush to bring in Casino - without seriously considering other industries -- just shows how UNSOPHISTICATED Natchez is.

      Mr. Anonymous #1 above - the one who calls "complete BS" on the well documented Casino stats -- you apparently have lived your life in a clueless, small town bubble.

      Or -- perhaps -- you have a selfish interest in the Casino proposition. You must be one of the few who will stand to gain personally!

      Anonymous said...

      Despite the fact that you admit to being stupid, lazy and greedy, you are brilliant! Yes, you nailed it. I am one of the few (hundreds if not thousands) that stands to gain personally from more casinos in Natchez. I've secured large contracts with both casino prospects pending the award of the bid. I have also made arrangements for executive level positions for my kids and my friends. This all over and above the large payout that I am recieving for posting on this blog on behalf of the gaming industry. I don't suppose you bothered looking up and comparing the economic statistics before and after gaming on the coast or in Tunica county? Perhaps that would be too much work.

      non-cheezian said...

      It's hard reading the blogspot. I made Casey upset when I suggested no one in Natchez would express their opinion openly. Now that I see y'all have an 'anonymous' option--let the hate-spewing begin! I have to say I see both sides--from personal experience.

      My friends in New Orleans renamed Harrah's "Brenda's" in honor of a renter of mine. Freeloader might be more accurate. She was a gambling addict and could never make her rent. She lost 50K in savings before leaving town.

      My former Houston neighbors are the flip-side. They manage their gambling as educated, successful, executive types. When they lost 30 grand in NOLA, Harrah's coincidentally had their first profitable month. I called to thank them for supporting our economy! They could afford it.

      Gambling is a corrupting force in communities. It seems to be common sense that government and gambling aren't the best of matches. Isn't Rentech a better option for our future? What's the rush? I think the Alderman were pissed off when Spanky Felter etal. hid the Rentech deal from them so they couldn't take credit. Personally I think the Mayor is desperate for some kind of success before election time comes again.

      The Condos were kept secret and rushed. I've read all of the proposals that our Aldermen saw. I have to say they picked mediocrity(no offense intended Larry and Mr.Ed). Some of those other proposals were brilliant--incorporating commercial venues and public common areas.

      The end result was the lack of public inclusion made it look like corrupted politics. Some of those behind well thought-out proposals felt cheated. I agree. We as Natchez taxpayers (our Mayor is not one)should demand honesty and open dealings from our "governors."

      non-cheezian said...

      It's hard reading the blogspot. I made Casey upset when I suggested no one in Natchez would express their opinion openly. Now that I see y'all have an 'anonymous' option--let the hate-spewing begin! I have to say I see both sides--from personal experience.

      My friends in New Orleans renamed Harrah's "Brenda's" in honor of a renter of mine. Freeloader might be more accurate. She was a gambling addict and could never make her rent. She lost 50K in savings before leaving town.

      My former Houston neighbors are the flip-side. They manage their gambling as educated, successful, executive types. When they lost 30 grand in NOLA, Harrah's coincidentally had their first profitable month. I called to thank them for supporting our economy! They could afford it.

      Gambling is a corrupting force in communities. It seems to be common sense that government and gambling aren't the best of matches. Isn't Rentech a better option for our future? What's the rush? I think the Alderman were pissed off when Spanky Felter etal. hid the Rentech deal from them so they couldn't take credit. Personally I think the Mayor is desperate for some kind of success before election time comes again.

      The Condos were kept secret and rushed. I've read all of the proposals that our Aldermen saw. I have to say they picked mediocrity(no offense intended Larry and Mr.Ed). Some of those other proposals were brilliant--incorporating commercial venues and public common areas.

      The end result was the lack of public inclusion made it look like corrupted politics. Some of those behind well thought-out proposals felt cheated. I agree. We as Natchez taxpayers (our Mayor is not one)should demand honesty and open dealings from our "governors."

      Anonymous said...

      The blog before mentioned Rentech. I am leery; Rentech is in cahoots with Peabody coal. I think there will be pollution with the process of converting coal into a liquid form, which Rentech proposes to do. We need much more research on Rentech before we jump on this bandwagon.
      The best thing to happen to Natchez was getting rid of IP--the pollution that paper mill generated was ghastly. I know people who would not move here because of it and people who did move here, regretted it because of IP and left. These economic suppressed small towns are preyed upon by these polluting smokestack industries; no other community will have them except the ignorant and desperate.

      Anonymous said...

      The City Council voted today - 12-18-06 to award the Roth Hill Casino contract to the Lane Company out of Atlanta.

      Supposedly, it's a 40 year lease and not an outright sale.

      Supposedly, it's a boat and a botanical garden. Compatible with the Trails project, etc.