Geoff Freeman’s guest column on casinos made me feel like I was in a time warp (“Casino gaming creates jobs and supports small businesses,” Orlando Sentinel, Thursday).
I supported the Atlantic City casinos in the ’70’s. I believed all the baloney about jobs, revitalization and a boom for business. But after almost 45 years, this great experiment is a dismal failure. It’s not that the casinos are going bankrupt, but that the city that was a mecca at the turn of the 19th century is a shell of poverty and neglect. The casinos did not cause this, but they did not help it, either.
Freeman has a story to tell based on facts, he writes. Then he launches into a study predicting the future. These are not facts but predictions with no guarantees. If Freeman thinks so much of these studies, let the vested interests behind him guarantee that all the good things will happen and none of the bad.
Guarantee that there will no prostitution or increase in crime. Guarantee that every casino will be solely owned and operated by American companies that pay their taxes. Guarantee that neither the mob nor South American gangs will infiltrate into support companies or increase their drug running. And guarantee that the stink of political corruption will not get worse than it is now. Funny, he does not mention any of these problems.
The 45-year failure of the Atlantic City experiment should caution us to not fall for this clap-trap again.