Franklin County, Pa., did research on a new casino’s effect on the local economy (“The Social Impact of Casinos: Literature Review and Cost Estimates,” Jan. 21, 2010). Using their methodology applied to Linn County, I present the information below.
Linn County has about 161,903 adult residents (2011), which may mean a casino could result in $5 million annually in ongoing costs, stemming from job losses, unemployment and welfare benefits, poor physical and mental health, and gambling disorder treatments. These issues translate into higher demands on the community’s human services systems.
It may also mean $42 million in total lifetime costs from one-time or less frequently occurring events such as bankruptcies, arrests, imprisonment and legal fees for divorce. These costs will be borne primarily by individuals and families, businesses and government, but may also impact the human services system.
The location of a casino within 50 miles of an individual’s home is associated with approximately double the likelihood of problem gambling.
A 2000 General Accountability Office study of casinos in Atlantic City showed that mostly low-paying casino jobs had no net effect on wages and the number of local restaurants and bars were down by nearly 50 percent 20 years after casino opening.
Iowa has 21 casinos in the state in nine locations. We rank 21st out of 44 states for number of casinos per 100,000 population as of 2012.
Casinos do not have a positive effect on local economies. Attract real jobs to the area.