Casino Foes Roll out Another Failed Theory
The “zero-sum game” argument – which states that the outcome for a casino’s host city depends on the casino’s ability to attract out-of-state tourists (“Bad Odds,” Regional Economic Roundup, June 11) – appears to be the most recent in a long line of failed social cost theories advanced by gaming opponents and has absolutely no basis in fact. There is no evidence that localities that include gaming in their economic mix could find themselves in trouble because of a saturation of casinos.
The article trots out a laundry list of ills it suggests are caused by gaming, including the prospect that introducing casino gaming into a community will cause other local businesses to suffer. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC), the only comprehensive federal study of the industry ever done, in its final report cited research that found that: “The preponderance of empirical studies indicates that claims of complete ‘cannibalization’ of pre-existing local restaurants and entertainment facilities by a mere shift in resident spending are grossly exaggerated.”
Casino gaming provides the men and women of communities with good jobs and hopeful futures for their families. Casinos also benefit other businesses where they operate.
The NGISC, summarizing testimony heard from more than 20 elected officials from jurisdictions across the country with casino gaming, said: “Without exception, expressed support for gambling and recited instances of increased revenues for their cities.” In Iowa, every eight years the citizens of the state must determine via referendum whether they want casino gaming to continue within their communities. The answer has been a resounding “yes.”
Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association