Your recent article “Games of Chance” by Peter Wood levels false and unfair criticism of the gaming industry. If the arguments posed by Mr. Wood were true, communities that host casinos would be centers of depravity rather than home to successful communities that see casinos as valued partners.
To evaluate the true impact of the gaming industry, talk to the people who live in casino communities and have experienced firsthand the local impact of gaming. Take, for example, Cheryl Bell, a reservation supervisor in Lake Charles, La., who was long prevented from achieving her dream of going back to school due to cost. Once Bell began working in the gaming industry she had access to tuition reimbursement and was able to enroll in classes.
“Words cannot even explain what it means to not have to worry about those out-of-pocket expenses. Not having to take out as many loans is one of the many benefits of why I work [in the gaming industry],” Bell told AGA’s Get In the Game, a website that interviews casino employees about their trade.
Bell is not the only one to have benefited from the gaming industry. Surveys show that a significant majority (64 percent) of residents in casino communities say casinos have a positive impact in their area. Elected officials and civic leaders in U.S. gaming communities know the real impact of our business—with the benefit of hindsight, 75 percent say they would vote to allow casinos if they could do it all over again. They welcome the additional tax revenue, jobs, secondary economic development, and contributions to community and charitable organizations.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association