"All of the legitimate research that has been done by unbiased economists and other academics show that legalized gambling eventually causes: 1) increased taxes, 2) loss of jobs, 3) economic disruption of other businesses, 4) increased crime, and 5) large social welfare costs for society in general and government agencies."
Not being restrained by facts or research, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen were so excited with themselves today, as they unanimously approved the Mayor signing the deal. It's so sad that the beautiful community of Natchez is reduced to groveling for casinos, prisons, and coal plants. If only we had leadership with vision.
These casino operators know exactly where to go to find unsophisticated (to be kind) politicians. Sixteen years ago, all the City officials were so excited about the economic benefits of the casino coming - so much so that they signed the worse casino deal in the State. Only one problem - the benefits never appeared. In fact, the opening of the casino created a decline in sales and business downtown. Over 70% of businesses reported a decline a year later. Although casinos promised increased tourism, that didn’t happen either. But some people never learn - and unfortunately, they're our elected officials.
There is one small glimmer of hope. The agreement signed today was a lease "option" agreement. The Lane Company has six months to decide if it wants to actually sign a lease with the City. We can dream that perhaps Lane will see the futility of three casinos fighting for business that can barely support one now.
Of course, each of those three casinos thinks that it will be the one left standing after the Battle of the Natchez Casinos. Can you imagine what that Battle's going to be like? Each casino will be offering escalating incentives to get gamblers. More of our downtown entertainment businesses will close, because they won't be able to compete with the casino prices. Our city police officers will be working overtime to combat the crime that always follows gambling. There are already many families in Natchez that have been destroyed by gambling. Now there will be more, and there will be a strain on our City and County to provide the welfare and other social benefits to those devastated families. Those promised economic benefits will never appear to counter our increased costs. so our taxes will have to go up.
Be prepared for the Battle of the Natchez Casinos, because it won't be pretty.