Recently a blog reader sent me the following study produced for Fort Wayne, Indiana as it considered allowing casinos in 2009. Here is the link: . He said he believed the study to be reasonable and objective. It was commissioned by the City of Fort Wayne and written by the Community Research Institute of Indiana University/Purdue University. Apparently the 38 pages of information produced did not deter the officials in Fort Wayne and two non tribal casinos are now in operation: the Fraternal Order of Eagles 3512 casino and the Canterbury casino. There are several major differences between Fort Wayne’s casinos and the proposed Glendale casino. No reservation land was created as these are not tribal casinos; local, county and state taxes are paid and revenue sharing deals were implemented. Here are a few highlights of the study.

  • “When fiscal costs were included as well a multiplier effects, most of the options which were calculated results in costs exceeding benefits.”
  • “However, the averages wages are less for casino employees compared to the overall average wage.”
  • “For 5-10 miles, there was an average loss of $195 for all industries…businesses located 10-30 miles away lost $243.”
  • “…casino ‘undercut’ local bars, restaurants, and lodging by subsidizing their on-site casino facilities.”
  • “In 2007, gambling industries (the majority of which are casino employment) had an average wage of $28,148 while the average national wage was $44,458.”
  • “Wichita State (2007) states that 50 percent of new jobs will come through substitution of existing jobs.”
  • “…one negative would be more traffic, more accidents, and more DUI arrests.”
  • “Rose (1998) identifies sewer and road maintenance as a drain on communities, as well as costs of increased crime and crime prevention.”
  • “…approximately 41 percent of the patrons lived within 20 miles, approximately 27% within 20-60 miles, and approximately 32 percent traveled more than 60 miles.”
  • From Wichita State (2007) annual spending per person living 0-10 miles from a casino is $528; 10-25 miles from a casino is $234; and 25-50 miles away is $115.”
  • “Research shows that proximity to a casino increases the likelihood of problem gambling…and most pathological and problem gamblers lives within 50 miles of a casino.”
  • “Strong evidence is produced that there is a correlation between crime and casinos…It has been suggested that after time, the pathological and problem gamblers may resort to crime to cover gambling related debts (bad check, check forgery, theft from employers, tax evasion, tax fraud, loan fraud, embezzlement, larceny, bookmaking, hustling, fencing stolen goods, confidence games, pimping, prostitution, selling drugs, and others.)”
  • “In a 2004 study done b the Department of Justice pathological or problem gamblers were arrested a rate 3-5 times higher than that of the general population.”
  • “Different studies have found ranges which are substantially higher for problem gambling in adolescents.”
  • “Substance abusers appear to be particularly vulnerable to gambling problems.”
  • “Studies indicate that casino employees may also be at higher risk for pathological gambling.”

The Community Research Institute made clear that it had no dog in the fight and was merely compiling research from a vast amount of available material. Their bibliography is extensive. Even an seemingly non-biased study such as this one raises red flags about the long term effects of casinos – tribal or non tribal.

Two of the major reasons supporters advocate for the Tohono O’odham casino in Glendale are: 1. historically we have treated Indians poorly, subjugating and placing them on reservations and therefore we, the United States, owe them; and 2. Glendale will benefit financially from a casino in its community. Questions arise. How far back does this nation have to recall history in paying for past sins? 50 years? 100 years? 150 years? The U.S. government has acknowledged its historical ill treatment of indigenous Indian people and has paid and continues to pay vast amounts of money in reparation.

 Glendale, despite the monies being offered by the Tohono O’odham, will suffer financially. It will be tasked with installing new and upgraded infrastructure to serve the casino and its associated development. It will strain an already strained public safety system and the casino will remove sales tax dollars from nearby businesses through unfair, untaxed, subsidized competition.

The action taken by the Glendale city council to bend over on the casino issue will, in the future, be just as detrimental financially to the city as the infamous arena management deal and the Camelback Ranch Spring Training Facility. It will become just another sink hole draining dollars that could be used to provide amenities that enhance the quality of life of Glendale’s residents.

There is still hope that the casino can be defeated. The General Election of November 4, 2014 produced a Republican majority in the Senate. I suspect that now it may be far easier to get a bill passed that stops the Tohono O’odham in their tracks. Perhaps that is why, even though they had a major ground breaking event a month or so ago, not one shovel full of dirt has moved on the TO site. This may signal the most prudent decision they have made to date. Actually starting a multimillion dollar development while congressional legislation remains a threat would be fool hardy indeed.

I never have and do not now bear any ill will to the people of the Tohono O’odham Nation. The Tohono O’odham people have suffered financially for many years. Where do the annual millions of dollars earned by the Tohono O’odham’s three current casinos go? Apparently not to the people of the Nation. However, I do believe that the actions of Ned Norris, Jr. and the Tohono O’odham Legislative council with respect to violating the State Gaming Compact and attempting to plant a casino in Glendale have been incredibly imprudent, greedy, selfish and self-serving. I do not wish them well in this endeavor.

 © Joyce Clark, 2014


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