It is difficult to make heads or tails of the latest research from Ball State University (“Study questions benefits of slots,” August 5). Any credible economist would agree that the study is deeply flawed. Its methodology and economic models don’t support the author’s own assertions, much less the real facts.
Here is what reality tells us about the impact of racetrack casinos (racinos). They provide critical employment opportunities – new jobs that wouldn’t otherwise exist. During these difficult economic times, one can hardly argue that new jobs are anything but a benefit to communities. West Virginia’s racinos employed 4,400 people in 2004, and since then, employment has spiked to more than 5,200.
Racinos offer employees competitive wages and excellent benefits. Though the study claims otherwise, its findings are based on an arcane economic modeling technique rather than actual reported employee income. Actual figures put wage levels much higher.
What’s more, the casino gaming industry enjoys some of the highest job satisfaction ratings in the country. According to a 2007 survey of gaming industry employees, including those at racinos, more than 85 percent find their jobs satisfying, and more than two-thirds say they have access to better health care since they began working in the gaming industry.
Ultimately, reality simply does not support the study’s tenuous conclusions. Racinos provide jobs that help families – and communities – prosper.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association