July 25, 2013

Another View: Casinos drain community resources; they don't build them

By David White

On Barney Frank's comparison of casinos to Burger King and Dunkin' Donuts ("Defending previous commentary," July 21):

They are service industries that can't be moved to the poorest parts of the world. All three are businesses that pay as little as they can, mostly below living wages, to the people on the bottom while paying most of the profit to executives and investors out of state.

Casinos are rigged to guarantee profit with payouts as low as possible to keep people hooked while maximizing profit. The profits are so sure that states and casinos divvy up the money in advance. Casinos treat the states like they do their patrons: paying out minimum, taking maximum. That brings in money to the states, but states tend to make bad deals.

Politicians make the bad deals, politicians who are subject to the corrupting influence of the money the casino operators either can pour into election coffers or withhold from politicians who don't cooperate so well.

We need to be very careful about letting casinos into our communities. They are not evil, but keep in mind their purpose is their profit before anything else. They bring good and bad. Once they are accepted, we are stuck with them.

While we consider it, perhaps we should be buying our burgers and doughnuts from local owners, preferably from those who pay a living wage or are even worker-managed. I might even accept casinos if they were owned and managed by the workers.

David White is a resident of Phippsburg.

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