13 March 2009

Gambling and Drinking Gasoline

The ultimate cause of our current depression is that we overspent. The savings rate in this country is the lowest in 75 years and it is the lowest in the developed world. Is this a good time to encourage wasteful gambling? Is this a great time to start building casinos in Ohio? Twenty years after they left Atlantic City and Vegas and started spreading across the whole country? Is this another example of Cincinnati being 20 years behind, and generally missing the trend?

Gambling discourages savings. Gambling feeds people's belief that money will make them happy and it encourages fantasies of getting something for nothing. I've been in a Las Vegas casino once and I have visited the outside of the casino "riverboat" in Lawrenceburg. Seeing the chain smoking zombies rush to spend their last nickels on a weekday afternoon was sickening.

I don't want to live near a casino and I don't want to raise my kids near one. However, if gambling is legalized in Ohio, (which may be inevitable) I would rather see one in an urban area like downtown than in Lebanon or wherever last year's proposal was supposed to go.

Maybe it can work at Broadway Commons, next to the Courthouse and the jail. The location definitely has the space and the highway access. But when I think of all the beautiful, hard working cities that I would love our city to emulate, I struggle to think of any that have a casino downtown. It just doesn't sit right with me.

(Somewhat not-relevant cartoon by Andy Singer.)


Anonymous said...

summer of 2007 I think, someone approached me about signing a petition to get gambling in Cincinnati - I think their jaw dropped all the way to the sidewalk when I stated that I didn't want gambling in Cincinnati at all...

Radarman said...

It's hard to imagine that the Casion developer would erect anything other than a box of glitz surrounded by a sea of parking lots on what should be more urbane and handsome site than the banks.

Quimbob said...

I have been to Vegas & Deadwood. I see having gaming in a whole city but the one casino thing doesn't make a lot of sense. Vegas has all kinds of non gambling entertainment. I doubt one small stakes casino will do that for the city.
If Ohio allowed gaming citywide in only one city, I would suggest Clevo or someplace along the river over on the hilly east side. Pomeroy ?

DP said...

Not that this should be considered a model for Cincinnati's future - heck, it might even be a vote against the casino - but I have been to an urban, stand-alone casino in Joliet, IL (Harrahs). It included an attached hotel and a multi-story parking garage. No surface lot. And while Joliet is certainly no Shangri-La, it seemed to 'fit' into the urban setting.

I haven't thought about it enough to decide whether I support or oppose the casino proposal, but I think it could be designed to fit. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that voters won't know any of the design details prior to having to vote on it. Perhaps there is an opportunity to press the proponents for comittments prior to the vote?

Anonymous said...

The larger issue concerning this casino location will be the impact on our city's impoverished.

Our place sits on Gilbert Avenue and I have the perfect view of the sidewalk to witness the hundreds of people who each day make the trek down Walnut Hills to the lower bowl. Although this might be deemed stereotypical, the vast majority of these people are living paycheck-to-paycheck. And now, within a short walk, they can risk their earnings on a chance for more.

While many of these city leaders are waving the banner of new jobs and money for Cincinnati as reasons for this casino, it would gained by leverage on the backs on those who can least afford it.

This is not what our city needs.

Anonymous said...

Does the proposal for the casino in Cincinnati include some language where the casino would be required to provide a percentage of earnings to public works projects?

A report in Michigan from Jan 2007: the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will disperse just under $1 million from their casino earnings to a variety of government and nonprofit agencies in the region as part of the state-mandated slot machine gambling agreement.

In addition to a $75,000 Government to Government Agreement payout to Leelanau County, funding requests were approved to pay for the replacement of the track at Suttons Bay School, to help fund a village police officer in Suttons Bay, to help fund repairs at the Suttons Bay Public Library, $60,000 to purchase address signs for 2,000 homes in Leelanau County, almost $40,000 for the Strengthening Leelanau Families programs (Family Support Team, Baby Pantry and Laundry Project), $20,000 to the County Planning Department to digitize old maps.

Anonymous said...

In order to attract people from outside the immediate neighborhood (fat cat suburbanites, for example) there will need to be an underground garage or significant police presence around the building and surface parking lots.

In either case, people will park, go in, probably lose or maybe win some money, go back out to their cars and leave the environs. There will be NO interaction with the neighborhood--in fact that will be something they will want to avoid.

So what's the advantage of having it there? I don't see a lot of collateral spending that would benefit other shops and stores in the city coming from people who would be treating the neighborhood the casino is located in as a necessary evil to be driven through with windows up and doors locked. The casino is of no intrinsic benefit to the city and could possibly be detrimental to residents.