I am extremely concerned about the false depiction of casinos in your recent editorial “Maryland should not fall again for gambling’s siren song.” Time and again studies have demonstrated that casinos contribute tremendous benefits to communities - not just in the form of tax revenues, but through jobs and new opportunities for nearby businesses.
In fact, the gaming industry is a driving force behind the U.S. economy, directly generating more than 350,000 jobs that would otherwise not exist—not to mention jobs at local supplier companies and other businesses that help casinos operate. In addition to providing these much-needed jobs, casinos in Maryland alone raised $89.53 million in tax revenue in 2011. This is a significant contribution that helps the state fund a variety of important projects.
And casino patrons are far from “victims.” The vast majority of people who frequent casinos do so responsibly using strict, pre-determined budgets. It’s true that the economy is still recovering, and casinos aren’t a panacea. What they are is a valuable part of the entertainment landscape that provides jobs, opportunities and tax revenues at a time when we need them most.
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
President and CEO
American Gaming Association