Some casino perspective from a Jersey Shore view
Regarding the recent letter lamenting lost prosperity for Richmond because voters rejected a casino, I don’t believe the project would improve the city’s economic outlook.
I do not live in the city, but I grew up on the north edge of the Jersey Shore. Trips to the “old” Atlantic City, where my parents spent their 1944 honeymoon, were frequent. Nice beaches, lots of little family hotels, a boardwalk you could stroll along without being accosted and the best saltwater taffy in the world.
Then came the casinos, with their bright lights and hundreds of tour buses full of folks dreaming about fortunes. Along with them came the Mafia, whose members were forbidden from owning casinos but who controlled the supply chain of services in areas such as food and drink, parking and entertainment.
The lowest-income citizens worked in menial jobs and lived in the public housing on the back streets of the casinos. They still do. Jersey government now spends millions to keep the casinos honest and out of mob control.
Casinos will support the financial needs of a city only if it makes sufficient money to meet contractual obligations. Guaranteed funds? Consider casino bankruptcies. Improving the lifestyle of citizens? There would be more traffic, crime, poverty and addiction — all with no financial guaranties.