2014-10-30 / Community Blog

A Brighter Future with No Casino

To the Editor:

I’m a young professional who moved to Rhode Island to attend law school at Roger Williams University School of Law. I moved to Newport in 2009 and immediately fell in love with the City by the Sea. I love the international culture, our seasonal tourism and weather, the natural beauty of the landscape, and the historic character. I have worked hard to stay in Newport and oftentimes have had jobs that required a daily commute to Providence.

 

I’ve spent almost my entire life working on environmental and social justice issues because I believe it is our responsibility to make the world a better place. To me, working to stop the casino expansion is important for our long-term economic health and is a social justice issue.

 

As a state and as a community, we need to make smart economic decisions for our future. Casinos are failing across the country because the market is saturated. While new casinos that open may experience a short-term influx in activity, the long-term economic outlook for casinos is grim. Statewide conversations about casino revenue have focused on a panicked analysis of what may or may not happen in surrounding states. As a state, we need to stop trying to come up with quick fixes or short-term solutions based upon the perceived crisis of the day. That reactionary policy-making often causes us to make bad decisions that typically leave taxpayers on the hook. The developers will have an exit plan from their investment, but what about the state? If we move forward with the casino expansion, we will increase our reliance on the failing casino economy.

 

Our economy is only as strong as our middle class and a predatory industry like casinos does nothing but funnel income up to the highest income earners - like the developers and investors who have already spent over $587,000 in the campaign. The long-term effects in casino towns have shown that casinos drain wealth from communities. Because of the increase in competition, casinos are relying on regional and local business to stay afloat – in other words, they are dependent on the local residents. Millions are spent on the design of local casinos, the lighting, and the layout of the floor plan to keep gamblers in the building until they are out of money. While many of us may think that isn’t our problem, I would argue that our city and state can find better ways to build our economy. Ways that don’t rely on people who lose their homes, savings, or in extreme cases, their lives.

 

I believe we can build our economy in a way that doesn’t risk our future economic stability. Without a casino, Newport’s future is bright.

 

Dawn Euer

Newport

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