Casinos and the Local Economy
States have been debating the issue of opening casinos as a form of revenue. As some areas have shown sustained growth from an operating casino, it seems to be site specific. Just factoring the growth of the industry would lead someone to believe that there is reason to consider casinos as positive. There are, however, many considerations. The first would be if saturation level of the industry will hinder expected growth from realizing the potential gains intended. When the opening of a casino deters traffic from another, there is actually no gain economically overall, but merely a shuffling of the money earned to another area. This has been prevalent near state borders, where competing venues share the gaming populace.
Another consideration is the area itself. The most certain types of locales to benefit from a casino are those that are rural and struggling financially. Generally speaking, a native owned casino is located a distance from areas of strong employment opportunities. Mostly reservation lands are rural and deft of good job opportunities. The twist here, though, is that these jobs collectively require a skilled labor force. That could mean a minimal ability for locals to work there, and the jobs would be imported. The other side of the coin is increased housing needs and a boost to local businesses.
Income received from the industry is generally filtered to a state’s education platform. This doesn’t mean that if one five million dollars from this source would go directly and only to education. The education budget could take a decrease from historical sources, and the casino revenue would make that up. This allows a state to adjust its finances with the added income. They, however, must realize the added expenditures of infrastructure and state services that would reduce the amount brought in. With detailed planning and foresight, the correct decision for any area can be weighed before a negative impact may be realized.
The addition of a casino for a positive economic outlook in a locality can offer long term and sustained business. It can also add negative elements, such as gambling addictions, increased crime, and traffic concerns. These are not wholly good or bad decisions, and need a careful understanding of both worlds involved.