January 29, 2007

Casino Royale with Chrourico

The Center for Policy Analysis (the folks we currently share our office space with here at UMass Dartmouth) recently ran a casino study. They turn the office into a call center, and we got friendly with some of the temporary employees. After collecting the data, the callers are now gone and the CFPA has analyzed the data and released their report.

Bay Staters Overwhelmingly Approve of Casino

What does this mean for the SouthCoast? Well, for one thing it puts a finer point on something I think this area has needed for a long time. I’m no expert in economics, but this area has been in trouble for a long time. Ever since losing the textile industry, there has been a downward economic slide.

All the while, this area is between affluent areas, and sees a lot of traffic between those affluent areas; people travel to and from Cape Cod through this area. There is little that gets those people to stop and spend some of their money in the area. For about a decade now it’s been my opinion that a resort casino somewhere in the Fall River - New Bedford area would tap into that traffic.

Any plan for a local casino would have to include some sort of planned improvement for the area. Reportedly, the governor and out local State Senator are both for the idea of an area casino and are discussing the impact. Another benefit of Romney’s exit.

A casino won’t solve the area’s problems. But let’s be honest; an economic turnaround needs an engine. No new industries are appearing in this area and taking off. A casino could bring people in, people who might want to eat in decent restaurants, see decent performances, spend money. It could be yet another reason to extend that rail line. It could be a much-needed economic kick in the pants.

I’m sure there will be plenty more discussion about an area casino, and I’ll keep posting about it as things develop, and I explore opinions about the subject.

Posted by James at January 29, 2007 11:22 AM
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Comments

I would like to see a casino come in to the FR area. What do we have going for us here? It's actually a really beautiful area. We have waterfront, we have beaches and rivers, and all of the affluent towns are gorgeous (Marion, Portsmouth, Little Compton, etc.). And, as you point out, we're between here and there. I think it makes sense, where you have waterfront, to become an attraction if possible. Let us try to get some of the ultra-rich to spend their money here, since they're the ones who have it all.

Posted by: Maggie at January 29, 2007 1:22 PM

I'm pretty much against casinos anywhere and I don't like the thought of the state being involved in gambling. I don't even like the lottery as it's what I like to call a stupid tax. It hurts the people who can least afford it the most. Casino gambling is probably a little better in some ways but I doubt it will bring any dramtic change to the regions ecomomy. Every Casino that gets built is less successful as it primarily draws customers from other casinos. People might go a little more often but the same people will go.

All that being said, I ready to climb a tree and let the tsunami pass. I'm clearly in the minority and if people want it it will at least bring some revenue to an area that desperatelty needs it. oh yeah, and I'll be ready to say I told you so if people are dragged out to sea.

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at January 29, 2007 1:31 PM

I guess I don't know exactly what the casino vs. lottery ticket demographic is, but I suspect it's somewhat different. The people I know who go to the casino are relatively well off.

Maybe there is a better solution to the problem of our flagging economy. What do we have down here? We have a lot of poor people. I would love to see a lot of technology jobs come down here (I'd like to see a lot of technology jobs anywhere), but a lot of those people won't be able to land a technology job. If there are casino jobs available, hotel jobs, restaurant jobs, etc., then there will be relatively decent jobs for the less educated people.

I would rather see them educated, I would rather see them working in a satisfying job that does us all good, rather than going toward the "stupid tax," but I think that if a casino is going to be built, maybe it could start a renovation of the FR area.

Just my thoughts, and if more information is available that shows me it's a bad choice, I'm open to changing my mind.

Posted by: Maggie at January 29, 2007 2:08 PM

If a majority of people in the area truly want it (I'm not sure how they determined this), then I won't protest, but I don't think it's a good idea.

On the one hand, I'd prefer a casino to yet another big-box store as a way to provide jobs in the area.

On the other hand, a casino will do nothing to improve this area's image in the tech job market.It's a shame that so many of UMD's bright, motivated graduates have to move out of the area in order to get the kind of job they've trained for.

Just like a casino, any tech company that came to town would have its pick of interested applicants. I'm not thoroughly horrified at the prospect of a casino, but I am afraid that if we get a casino, our local politicians and business leaders will say "our work here is done" and make no further efforts to attract tech jobs.

Posted by: Julie at January 29, 2007 2:38 PM

They determined it with a number of weeks of phone interviews.

Details are here:
http://www.umassd.edu/cfpa/docs/taking_the_gamble_casinos.pdf

I am afraid that if we get a casino, our local politicians and business leaders will say "our work here is done" and make no further efforts to attract tech jobs.

I wouldn't want them to stop working, either. However, I haven't noticed much of an effort to date. Certainly not an effective one. So I would view this as a start. If they stopped working subsequently, we'd still be ahead one new job venue.

The SouthCoast can't afford to be picky right now; in fact it hasn't been able to afford to be picky for a long time. Perhaps now people are waking up to that. You have to start somewhere.

I'm not going to sing the praises of casino jobs. But I'm tired of the idea that we have to hold out for better jobs in an area while we doom less-qualified residents to underemployment.

For a liberal state, the SouthCoast is surprisingly conservative area when it comes to trying to solve its problems. Opposition rises up quickly to make sure we cling to the comfort of a slowly failing status quo.

That's not to say there may not be valid arguments against having a casino here, or that I think all people who oppose it are merely obstructionists.

Posted by: James at January 29, 2007 4:07 PM

As long as the casino pays appropriate impact fees and taxes (i.e. no special waivers in exchange for gracing us with their presence), I can't object too strenuously.

Posted by: Julie at January 29, 2007 5:01 PM

Ugh!

I was against the proposed Bingo Hall back in 98 and really hate to see this raise its ugly head again.

The problem with bringing in a casino is what else comes along with it? Back in 1998 I can remember WSAR doing a special on the impact of Foxwoods on the bordering town and it was significant.

More crime and social ills? Do we really no what we're getting into?

I can remember the promises of the money and jobs, but never any specifics, how many full-time jobs? how many part-time? What type of salary, benefits, etc. I remember a lot of the money and jobs were due to the construction of the facility, nice in the short time but once it's built those jobs are gone.

On top of that, a casino doesn't really help the surronding area, when you go to Foxwoods, you stay at Foxwoods, not the surronding area. And, so a Fall River/New Bedford casino is unlikely to bring more tourists to the Whaling Musuem or Battleship Cove.

I really wish someone would do some hard research on this and correct me if I'm wrong.


Posted by: Lefty at January 29, 2007 10:57 PM

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