Economic Effects Of Legalized Gambling

The introduction of gambling into a community has various effects on local businesses. In a lot of cases new river boats are introduced in areas that are economically depressed in hopes of reviving the community.

Supporters of legalized gambling feel that the casinos increase tourism and causes growth in the retail sales industry, and restaurants. Most casinos are not succeeding at the expense of other local businesses. In fact, they actually add to their economies. In Minnesota, counties with casinos showed a 10% increase in the revenues of local bars and restaurants from 1989 to 1991. Casinos in Tunica, Mississippi, have helped to create a flourishing economy in what was once considered the poorest county in the poorest state. There has been an increase in the number of small businesses and companies that have entered the area, because the casinos draw in approx 50,000 people a day. These people are able to spend a few extra dollars at local restaurants and stores which leads to an improvement in the economy.

Even towns with decent economies can benefit from the legalization of casinos. Not only are businesses moving into areas with casinos, but there is also more tourists who will be able to purchase the goods and services provided by these new businesses.

Of course, not everything about the casinos is positive. Casinos can drain money from the economy and the communities and local businesses are left to deal with the fallout after the casinos leave the area. In a survey of 900 Minnesota restaurant owners in 1993, 38% reported a loss of business due to the new casinos. Casinos are able to provide cheap food and drinks along with first-class entertainment because they are world class establishments, and local businesses cannot compete with this. Every dollar spent in casinos is a dollar not spent in local restaurants, retail shops, and theaters.

If the casinos do improve the economy for local businesses, what is to say that they won't suddenly leave the area? If they do decide to leave, they will be leaving behind broken promises along with unfulfilled forecasts of a great future.

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