Mayling Simpson: Casinos and communities


Those interested in the new proposed casino to be located near Yampa Valley Regional Airport would do well to search the Internet for “impact of casinos on communities.” My search found several important articles that should be read. In particular, I encourage you to visit, and

In summary, objective nationwide research (not casino-financed studies) shows that casinos have an overall negative impact on small communities and result, throughout time, in a net loss of jobs. This is because of the fact that the casino-hotel-restaurant complex takes away nightly stays and meals from local establishments. The marketing power of the casino industry and the elaborate cheap buffets ultimately lure tourists who otherwise would stay and eat in local establishments.

Casinos typically have many low-paying jobs without benefits while senior management and investors reap the real benefits. Casinos send most of their profits out of the community and the state.

Overall, the most detrimental effect of casinos is the rise in problem and pathological gambling. Studies indicate the number of problem gamblers doubles within 50 miles of a casino. Problem and pathological gamblers create many more social problems, including bankruptcy, divorce, neglect of children, increased health problems and illegal drug use and, ultimately, crime to finance their addiction. The cost of these problem gamblers can be significant to a community. Studies found that for every $1 collected in tax revenue from a casino, the state spends $3 to deal with the problems it creates.

I never will use a casino, and so I could just ignore this entire issue and live in my own world of indifference to it. But as a resident of this county, seeing our businesses already struggling from recession and knowing how many social problems we already have with illegal drug use, child neglect and alcoholism, I don’t think I can sit by and say nothing. You and I are members of this community. We need to think what is best for our tourism image and what we are teaching our children. We do not need to add to economic woes or to addictions in this community.

I hope interested persons in this county will take the time to read even a couple of the numerous objective studies done on this subject and decide for themselves. I reached the conclusion that we do not need and should not have this casino.

Mayling Simpson

Steamboat Springs


Michelle Hale 3 years, 12 months ago

I could not disagree more. All addiction is a choice, drinking, drugs, or spending money at a casino. Having lived in New Mexico, and seeing the impact of the casinos there I didn't see what you spoke of. My point is this. People will make those choices regardless of where they live or whats around, to blame it on a casino is a moot point. If it brings jobs, by bringing entertainment.....that equals jobs, and taxes. We as a people have to get past this whole blame game. One of my favorite quotes is this. Life is divided by conscious and subconscious choice. If you do not choose you live by default. (Still a choice.)


bill schurman 3 years, 12 months ago

In case we lose the "Western" image we could always have TWO cattle drives !!


Michelle Hale 3 years, 12 months ago

I will say this. My family goes back 5 generation, I number 6. The "western" image is nothing but promotion. The real story of Routt County has ALWAYS been energy and mining. Ranching was how you fed your family and got extra cash, but has NEVER been the tax base. Having legal gaming is just a different type of mining. We need jobs, and something for people to build upon beside the back wash of the rich and removed that come to ski. Far too often it's forgotten where the real money comes from and is built by. That would be energy. For the most part the majority of the people who call them selves "ranchers" don't have a clue as to what that means. They play at it so they can say they have a ranch in Steamboat Springs, while pushing up the tax base, and making it hard for those who were born and raised here to pay the taxes. That leads to having to sell their land, or like many always in the mine and on oil rigs to pay the land taxes, and support their family. Bring on something that will help people who need to work and were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. A fool and his money are soon departed. Those who want to gamble.....go ahead. It just means someone who needs work has a damn job.


jerry carlton 3 years, 12 months ago

Walk around on the Las Vegas strip or downtown Reno. Besides the tourists you will see a disproportiate number of prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, gang members, and other unsavory folks. Bring them on. Lots more jobs. We can also legalize brothels and nude dance clubs. More jobs.


mark hartless 3 years, 12 months ago

The right doesn't want prostitution or gambling because it causes ill effects to the community like addictions that society as a whole has to pay for.

The left increasingly wants to tell us what kind of diet to have (among other things) because it has nagative effects on our health which society as a whole has to pay for, thanks in no small part to socalized medicine.

Both use the exact same arguments against each other and don't even seem to realize it because their personal idealism blinds them to the real problem...

Society should not be in the business of protecting men from the consequences of their folly. If it were not, it would find itself less burdened by that individual's choices. We make a grave mistake when we assume the role of "our brothers keeper" Because with each new step toward becomming our brothers keeper we inject ourselves into the business of what used to be autonomous human beings, usually through almighty government which even "we the keepers" can not ultimately control..


Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Mark, Well, maybe so, but Colorado law does not allow people to freely open casinos.

Current federal law to transfer land to a tribe for gambling is a federal government decision. Then Colorado's governor would have to approve.

Unfortunately, the local governments have no control over whether this group can open a casino. The only role local people and local government has in the process is to submit their opposition or support to those with the power to make the decisions.

So what is ideal is certainly not how the process works in this case.


John Weibel 3 years, 11 months ago


Was not Strawberry park named for the strawberries produced? Did not freight cars of lettuce get shipped from south routt? I think that you are selling agriculture short in being an engine for job creation in the region. Though, beef cows, excluding putting weight on yearlings, might just be better suited for another climate and different forms of agriculture might just sprout up....

That is if government regulations do not make it too hard as the growing season here makes us need to find ways to add value to the products we produce and to store some of those produced crops.

I just cured some bacon this weekend and am looking forward to trying Prosciutto. I was looking forward to making cheese commercially but that is now looking like it is two+ years out, all that planning for not.


Melanie Turek 3 years, 11 months ago

Mark, the problem with your Libertarian POV is that it neglects to take into account the fact that we all live in a community. If you take your argument to the extreme you are effectively saying we will not pay for people to receive healthcare if they are sick, but rather leave them to die. Putting aside the ethics of such a philosophy, it is completely impractical, because it forgets that a functioning society requires functioning members to, you know, work and buy things and provide healthcare and other services to those of us who can pay for them/own businesses/etc. Warren Buffet said it best when acknowledging that his wealth is an accident of time and place—he was born at the right time, and in a very wealthy country, and he (and the companies he owns and invests in) has access to an educated and productive labor force that can also spend the money it earns. But if we just let people fend for themselves completely, that safety net (for the Buffets of the world) disappears. So, just as you need basic infrastructure and defense for a society to function, so too do you need an educated, healthy populace that doesn’t have to spend so much time worrying about, say, how to care for and feed themselves and their children that they literally cannot work productively.


John Weibel 3 years, 11 months ago

The thing about a Libertarian POV is that many who are think that it is the communities responsibility to help out those in need... vis a vis Horizons, Lift Up, etc..

Many Libertarians realize that much of the systemic problems that have allowed Buffett to amass such great wealth comes about from the federal reserve and the debasing of our currency and the ability to coin money without any real value, create debt with no tangible assets and corporations ability to print money via stocks.

Couple this with the government intervention in the markets that encourages to take on debt on their home, invest their retirement in stocks and guarantee the worlds pension system. The government has caused much of the distortions in the world that create the disparities in income and have caused major health issues by making really poor quality food the least expensive available.

Yes the government should help to provide essential services, police, fire and roads. The rest is simply government supplanting community in taking care of each other and becoming the nanny state.


Melanie Turek 3 years, 11 months ago

John--how do you propose we educate and heal 350 million people, exactly? Just rely on our neighbors to do that? I like my neighbors, but what are they going to do for me if I get sick (other than bring over a casserole)? And, why is protecting my property more important than protecting my health?

I agree that the government doesn't always get it right; sometimes it gets it really wrong, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the subsidies to farmers and oil companies, and the tax loopholes for corporations and the 1%. But markets are not some kind of all-seeing, all-good force. Markets are selfish, and for many services--the police, fire and roads you mention, but also prisons, education, healthcare, and some others--the profit motive does not result in the better outcome.


John Weibel 3 years, 11 months ago


Today, I believe we are indoctrinating our children. But yes we should try to educate so that they can think for themselves, and I did leave that out. The current model helps to breed segregation and moving back to one room school houses might just be better and let the older kids help to teach the younger kids reinforcing the lessons they have learned - as in the Montessori approach.

Many times there is nothing even the doctor can do for you if you get sick. It just takes time and yes that casserole might just do the trick.

Is not your body and health part of your property which should be protected.

Markets are more all seeing, than any government induced mechanisms. Markets are not selfish, they act and react to what is happening in the real world. They can not get rid of the human condition of panic and overzealousness nor will there ever be a way to get rid of that. The human condition in which we all exist causes us to be jealous of others and what they have and to pursue the trivialities of life, wanting to show we are right no matter what as our egos get in the way.

I think that if you actually looked into what many real libertarians believe that you just might find common ground on 99% of it.

Getting the government out of much of what it is involved in would solve most of our problems. Starting with health care and at the federal level education. Why can that not be determined at the local level and why is it now that you are required to have a masters degree to be a principal? It is simply to justify the current education system which is making our youth indentured servants to the bankers. The fallacy that a college degree is going to make you so much more money needs broken. When you figure in lost wages and expenses, one could probably do better taking up a trade and learning from a master in their field and do better as long as they can read, write and critically think well. Throw in creativity, which our school system tends to root out (as the Chinese have learned and have hired a friends brother to set up Montessori schools there).


John Weibel 3 years, 11 months ago

By the way, the City Employees are requesting higher profits for their labors today. Profit is simply the result of work, the county profited off of me at $120/hour to decide wether or not I can milk cows on my farm. How is that any different?


james Patterson 3 years, 11 months ago

John-The flaw in your stance is the assumption that the "markets" will not do anything that is detrimental to the earth and it's occupants and are in no need of oversight. I think history has shown that this is not the case. In your modal, who/what will protect us against products/services that will do us and/or the earth harm? It's difficult to protect your body when the "market" produces and sells food that is not created because it's healthy, but rather is created to produce the highest profit margin. The statement "markets" are not selfish may or may not be true, but the players in those markets are self serving. I would also have to disagree that we are jealous of what other's have. When this exist, it is a creation of those controlling the markets (advertising) and is not a natural human condition. Cooperation is the natural state of social beings.

Who will insure that our children will be taught information that is based on science/facts rather than religious superstition (such as what's happening in Texas and Tenn. right now)?

Who will keep the financial markets honest? I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

There's is little doubt that our government has many aspects that are not working well and need to be fixed, but dismantling it is not the answer. Someone/something has to balance the greed of captialism (esp corporate capitalism) with the interest of the people and the planet. Effective government can provide this. It is up to the people to demand this.

It does not have to be business or government. The relationship does not have to be adversarial, it can be complimentary. I suspect the conflict is promoted by both sides because it is profitable to both. This conflict is a values issue, not a natural state. We as a nation can overcome this, the question is will we?


John Weibel 3 years, 11 months ago


The flaw in your assumption is that we do not hold people personally accountable for what harm they do create. Ron Paul had a very good interview on the subject 4 years ago.

The financial markets are not free they are rigged currently. The fundamental premise of a free market would be a free currency and we do not have that.

On food, not being healthy, that is because of the governments intervention into the market. That market where I see an opportunity to produce potatoes and sell them today. Tomorrow that opportunity may go away as someone else can do it better or at least thinks they can.

On education, I think that you ought to pick up some quantum physics and read up. Then go pick up John Taylor Gatto's writings on the subject (New York Teacher of the Year twice. He thinks the system should be abandoned or at least drastically altered). Then go pick up Maria Montessori's writings on child development.

You have touched on so many issues and to try and address any one thoughtfully is hard.

Much of the federal government should be dismantled, the USDA as it is causing many of the problems our country is facing and I can go on. Sometimes it is better to start with a clean slate than to try and remedy a broken system.


james Patterson 3 years, 11 months ago

I guess we can agree to disagree. We do not hold corporations or their individuals accountable to any significant degree, never have, never will. (except for some sacraficial lambs) I do not have faith that any "market" that is driven by maximizing profits will result in anything good for the earth or living things. How do you hold a mult-national corporation accountable for producing a product for 50+ yrs (cigarettes/fracking for example) that is found to adversely effect the health of folks or the environment? How do you undo thousands of deaths or a compromised water source that was the result of the seach for higher profits? For a glaring example of what can go wrong with a "market" provider left free of meaningful oversight one simply needs to look at Monsanto.

I do agree that the government allowed itself to be influenced unduely by the corn growers (another example) that has lead to a food chain that is predominately corn based and extremely unhealthy..... but it was the market that influenced the government, not the other way around. I do agree, shame on both.

I will never be a fan of Montessori (I was in the Ed field for 35+ yrs), but do agree that our approach to education needs redirection. The emphasis on traditional college and lack of status for the skilled trades is to the detriment of our country and our children. Being able to think critically is very important, as is the ability to do something with that knowledge. That is one of the gaps I see in the way we approach education. However, even the ability to think critically can not overcome information that is absent or distorted. For example, if the ingredients of a product are not listed accurately, all the critical thinking skills in the world will not change the fact that an informed decision can not be made. Few, if any, food producers would willingly list their ingredients. This distortion/absence of accurate information is everywhere in our "connected" society..... with no one held accountable.

Much of the government at all levels needs to be reconsidered, as do our values regarding the place of maximized profit motive in our lives. As long as we allow profit and material gain to be our leading values, we as individuals and as a nation will not reach our potential and large segments of our nation will struggle to have even life's most basic needs. Shame on us.


John Weibel 3 years, 11 months ago

I think you have a misunderstanding as I stated above that the banking systems and corporations ability to "coin" money and the tax benefits they are given are a large part of the problem.

I am also not saying that corporations are given free reign. I am in agriculture and yes Monsanto has run amuck.

Having seen the structured Montessori programs I have spoke with the people I have. I think that you may be mistaken by Montessori. By not grouping children by age you, tend to stop the other groupings that children do.

On Profit I suppose the teachers union in NYC should step back and consider their pay(profit from their work) then as a dual income teacher family in NYC is in the top five percent of all wage earners.

In addition on profit, maximized profit is also akin to minimized waste. My pigs eat my weeds that I pull so that I do not have much feed expense. If I were making cheese commercially today the pigs would also be getting whey. You are stuck in the mindset of corporatism which I agree is bad. Capitalism is not it is just one person seeing an opportunity to do something better or new and taking advantage of it.

Our schools are indoctrinating our kids that what we see today is capitalism and is bad. That needs to stop and actual education needs to happen. I saw reports from sixth graders at a Montessori school in Boulder that compared to what college kids produce, and they did it on their own.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Well, there have been situations where a corporation could calculate the harm being done to others and factoring in the likelihood of those they are hurting being able to collect in court then decide to profit from doing harm. That situation should not be left to the free market, but is an appropriate place for government regulations to limit the harm being done to others.

That is a philosophical key distinction in John's situation where the claimed harm is to his own property. The purpose of the firewall is to slow a fire in one side of his barn where he wants to make cheese from spreading to the other side. There is no claims that it would affect other people or their property. John is completely willing to accept the risk of additional damage to his property if there would to be a fire.

So none of the reasons that justify government regulation are present in John's barn.

There is a valid food safety concern over producing food in a sanity environment, but John got that approval. It is just the building dept protecting him from himself that is the issue.


John Weibel 3 years, 11 months ago

Here is a link to that Ron Paul article on the issue of the environment and need for some regulation. That is the fallacy, that being a libertarian you do not hold the environment in high regard. Quite the contrary you understand that others should have to pay something for their harm to others. Quantifying it is the difficult part.

yes their are some that are of the belief that they can do whatever they want without recourse, but that is the depiction to stop the unification of people and divide them with the wedge issues.


mark hartless 3 years, 11 months ago

Melanie, Society should not be in the business of protecting men from the consequences of their folly. Period.

The problem with YOUR socialistic POV is that you seem to assume that government is the only source of security, healthcare, and aid for the needy, etc. While this view is rather popular in todays economically illiterate world, it is a rather sophomoric, non-sensical and unrealistic view.

Dramatic sounding lies like "leave them to die" or "starving in the streets" are phrases used by socialists to pull at the heart-strings of the ignorant. Nobody, least of all Libertarians, are proposing that people be left to die. What hogwash!

Whenever socialists hear an argument against government intervention they automatically launch into the assertion that if not for government, this or that particular thing would just HAVE to go un-done. As if no other organization would ever step up and fill the void. This reveals either ignorance or deciet on their part.

For many centuries the "communities" to which you refer have rallied together to render aid to their members in times of need. Religious and non-religious organizations alike have repeatedly demonstrated a capacity for doing so.

Furthermore, no government aid, whatever form it might take, (education, healthcare, transportation, etc) can ever be given to a community until government first TAKES AN EVEN LARGER SHARE from some community somewhere. Those who are unable or unwilling to acknowledge this basic economic FACT are the economically illiterate of whom I speak.

When confronted with this unpleasant reality most hell-bent-for-leather socialists begin lamenting the many woes of relying on charity and trusting a free-market they rightly view as corrupt. However, the flaw in this escape plan is pretending that government is not equally, or even MORE corrupt. It is as if socialists believe evil and corruptible men can be found only in private enterprises. A foolish notion indeed.


mark hartless 3 years, 11 months ago

There are several insidious characteristics of societal aid being rendered through government rather than the private sector in general, and local communities in particular. I think someone could write a book about it someday. I would like to explain, as I see it, just one aspect of that here and now.

In times past people within communities relied on each-other for much of the social saftey net. Today such aid mostly comes to them from government, more in the form of a "safety hammock" than a net.

While everyone else in the community worked very hard every day bringing in the crops, tending livestock and raising barns to house feed and animals essential to their survival, the town sloth lounged around day-dreaming, fishing and goofing off. When that individual came begging for food, shelter, or money what do you think he would get from those who had watched him goof off while they worked? Not very much food and not very much sympathy. And rightly so. Why? Because the towns-people knew his predicament was of his own making. However, since he knew he was at their mercy, he was compelled to be somewhat congenial towards his fellow citizens, even if he refused to pull all his weight.

Enter government. Now the sloth can show up at the handout line and recieve aid from folks who don't even know him! They don't know he passed up opportunity after opportunity for work all sumer long. They don't care if he gets some money because it comes, not from the government aid worker, but from the towns-folks. Even though his conduct is shamefull the sloth doesn't have to be ashamed anymore. He can hold his head high as he walks among those from whom the government has taken hardearned money on his behalf. WORST OF ALL he can now be an even bigger ass, an even more slothfull individual. He needent even be polite to those within his community who will later be compelled to bear his cross. He never has to meet them. He doesn't have to give a damn whather they like his conduct or not. And it's all downhill from there.



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