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Bill Cousins: Casino a bad idea

In response to the letter from Messrs. Spillane and Hoffman ("Douglas wrong," June 13) I would make the following points:

The article by Rob Douglas ("Casino raises questions") on June 8 was very timely. Many residents like myself may have missed or forgotten the input of the March 22 newspaper article or even tossed the thought out of the window that it will never happen in Steamboat. Douglas makes the valid point: "Will gambling be added to the family-friendly image of Steamboat?" I think not.

Apart from the development viability and business economic aspects, there are other matters of concern. The whole question of the social and moral issues involved in allowing a casino to operate needs to be addressed. Studies have shown that casinos attract the drug and alcohol culture with its accompanying violent and antisocial behavior.

You only have to look at places like Reno, Nev., and Central City to see what happens to a city that embraces gambling as its major source of revenue. On a recent trip to the Black Hills, I experienced Deadwood, where this once-quaint cowboy town has seen Main Street proliferate with casino-based bars, restaurants and hotels to become a nonstop, 24-hours-per-day gambling mecca. The town center area is now destroyed and has become "Dead." If a casino is permitted at Yampa Valley Regional Airport, this could well be the foot in the door for other casino operators coming to Steamboat with detrimental effects on our community life.

The implications of the developers partnering with an American Indian tribe is another matter for concern. Again there seem to be several important community-related matters to be resolved, including legal, fiscal, taxation and social implications, among others. To me, it is like opening a can of worms.

I welcome a comprehensive review of this project with public meetings to air all these issues. Also, final approval will be necessary from the Colorado governor, and as Hoffman said, "The developers are not going to ask the governor to support a project that our community doesn't support." Let's hope it never reaches the governor's desk.

Bill Cousins

Steamboat Springs