The American Gaming Association (AGA) does not take a position on gambling expansion; however, your readers deserve to know that Linda Hoffman’s opinion editorial “Table Games: Bad Bet for Jefferson” (May 23) makes a case that is built on bad information.
Ms. Hoffman cites the findings of avowed gaming opponents whose work has been debunked time and time again, described as “sophistry” and “marred by one-sided and incomplete arguments” by respected scholars. Ms. Hoffman also draws on bad information when she claims that jobs arriving with commercial development are not – in her words – “well-paying.” The facts, as verified by the Congressionally-mandated National Gambling Impact Study Commission, are that communities with casinos have 43 percent higher earnings in their hotel and lodging sectors than those communities farther from casinos.
Most importantly, gaming has been a part of Jefferson County since 1994, and if the problems cited by Ms. Hoffman were truly part and parcel of the gambling bargain, she would only have to look within the community to identify them. She has debunked her own argument by grasping onto supposed gambling ills in another community – ills that don’t exist. The plain truth is that the U.S. General Accounting Office has said there is no evidence that gambling has increased social problems in Atlantic City, and numerous federally funded studies have shown there is no link between gambling and crime, bankruptcy or suicide.
Gambling is not for everyone, but for anyone to understand the pros and cons of this debate, they need facts. Ms. Hoffman did not offer those to your readers.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO, American Gaming Association