Cross-posted from Bellicose Bumpkin
Shell game or real benefit?
Commonwealth Magazine has a great article that takes a look at Governor Patrick’s proposal to create three resort casinos(notice how they’re never casino resorts?) in Massachusetts. It seems a pretty balanced report and gives equal time to the proposed benefits and projected negatives.
One of the negatives that I’ve talked about on many occasions is the effect a large mega-casino will have on existing businesses in the region. The pro-casino people claim it will be an “economic engine” while I maintain that there is only so much discretionary cash available to most people – and any money spent at the casino will come at the expense of existing businesses. The article observes:
Like much else in the debate over casinos, the extent of any substitution effect is hotly contested. Virtually every major study, however, agrees that such an effect is most pronounced in an area, such as Boston, with a healthy economy. Casinos can stimulate depressed economies, said the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in its 1999 report, but “a significant danger [is] posed by the continuing expansion of legalized gambling into places where the economy is already prospering…Not only are the net benefits in these new areas low, but the benefits to other, more deserving places are diminished, due to the new competition.“
You’re being unfair to the poor casinos
So what’s the big deal? Any new restaurant, store, water park etc is in competition with money that’s being spent elsewhere in the economy. Why am I singling out casino resorts?
The problem is not with the high-end handbag store that’s at the casino. It’s the casino that’s at the casino. Casinos are currently illegal and are unlike any other business due to the costly social problems that come with them. To add insult to injury, the handbag store at the Indian casino pays no local or state taxes and thus has an unfair competitive advantage to the handbag store in Cobblers Row …. if there was a handbag store in Cobblers Row.