Gazette guest columnist Richard Florida doesn’t see casinos as economic development — and he expressed his views in a Saturday column.
“While politicians and casino magnates seek to sell gambling complexes to the public as magic economic bullets, virtually every independent economic development expert disagrees — and they have the studies to back it up,” said Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, Global research professor at New York University and senior editor at The Atlantic, who was brought to Iowa in 2005 to kick off the Iowa Great Places initiative.
“More than a decade ago, the bipartisan National Gambling Impact Study Commission’s concluded that while the introduction of gambling to highly depressed areas may create an economic boost, it has the negative consequence of placing the lure of gambling proximate to individuals with few financial resources,” Florida added. “When gambling is added in more prosperous places, the benefits to other, more deserving places are diminished because of the new competition. And as competition for the gambling dollar intensifies, gambling spreads, bringing with it more and more of the social ills that led us to restrict gambling in the first place.
“Even as America’s original gambling resorts seek to remake themselves, countless struggling cities are looking to gamble their way out of these tough times,” Florida added. “While gamblers might fool themselves into thinking that they can get something for nothing, public officials and civic leaders should know better.”
Read the column linked above for more information. Do you think gambling will bring more benefits than problems to Cedar Rapids if a casino is built here?