In a recent op-ed, Massachusetts native Brian Wolfel turned up his nose at the employment opportunities casinos bring to communities, classifying them as undignified and “low-end” jobs.
I would argue, however, that Mr. Wolfel’s misguided opinion of gaming expansion in Massachusetts is the very definition of undignified, not to mention dead wrong.
Last year, casinos employed more than 330,000 people who earned $13.1 billion. Thousands more were put to work by gaming supply companies. I doubt those men and women would so easily dismiss the opportunities casinos provide.
In fact, a 2007 survey reported that more than 85 percent of gaming industry employees finds their jobs satisfying. In addition, more than two-thirds say they have access to better health care since they began working in the gaming industry, including employees from demographic groups that often are underinsured in other economic sectors.
Mr. Wolfel fails to acknowledge that casinos do more than contribute tax revenue to depleted government budgets. Casinos also create other jobs by purchasing goods and services from neighboring businesses. And they create still more jobs by boosting tourism; according to a recent survey, 69 percent of gaming county residents says casinos have had a positive impact on local tourism.
Mr. Wolfel argues that the introduction of casinos would have brought about “cultural death and darkness” in Massachusetts. I hardly believe the hard-working men and women who might have found employment at new casinos would agree. Nor would, I suspect, the families that might have benefitted from the taxes that casinos and their employees would have paid.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association