Mayling Simpson: Casinos and communities | SteamboatToday.com

Mayling Simpson: Casinos and communities

Mayling Simpson

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 http://www.casinowatch.org, http://www.communityresearchpartners.org and http://www.lwvma.org.

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.

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Mayling Simpson

Steamboat Springs

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