The Promise of Jobs – Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

It happens time after time.  The casino developers roll up with their shiny new toy, a scaled model of a giant casino complex complete with state-of-the-art everything.  No detail left to the imagination.  The smell of money lingers in the air and intoxicates the local elected officials, area business owners, and the townspeople.   And, of course, the promise of jobs.  Lots and lots of jobs.

Not all jobs are created equal.  Just because a casino employs people doesn’t prove that it is making a positive economic impact on the community.   The litmus test should be do the jobs help the economy not just a simple numeric measurement.  As we have previously emphasized, gambling is a sterile transfer of wealth, creating no new products or services.

The appalling truth is casinos make far more gambling addicts than jobs. Illinois state government’s own data shows that many more citizens have been hurt by the casinos than there are citizens who work there: according to the Illinois Gambling Board in 2012, there are almost 20% more Illinois citizens on the self-exclusion list than jobs at the state’s casinos.

As of June 4, 2012: the total enrollment of citizens in the state’s Self-Exclusion Program was 9,171. The total number of full and part-time casino jobs was 7789.

In “Gambling in America: Costs and Benefits,” Earl Grinols estimates that every dollar of economic gain from casinos is offset by three dollars of economic loss.

No great nation or state has ever built a strong foundation on personal debt, addiction, and the steady expansion of businesses that milk existing wealth instead of producing new wealth.

Something never comes from nothing.

The subprime lending practices that nearly collapsed the housing market, its lenders and insurers, and bankrupted so many hard working American families is a great example of this. Mortgage lenders like Countrywide Mortgage employed a lot of people and made a lot of money, but they did it by selling bad loans to people who could not afford them.

Casino operators openly discuss in the media and in their own marketing research that they are aggressively working to lure new gamblers and create “new markets.” During the Pennsylvania Gaming Congress & Mid-Atlantic Racing Forum in early 2011, state gambling operators confessed that their most lucrative players were local citizens losing money at the casino five times a week. Prior to sponsoring their own state casinos, there was virtually no one in eastern Pennsylvania traveling 1 1/2 hours to Atlantic City, NJ five times a week. The “going-out-of-state” message is a deliberate public relations tactic to avoid intense scrutiny about how government’s experiment has failed as well as the predatory and deceitful business practices used by gambling operators. – See more here.

Eventually, those same local citizens losing money at the casino five times a week, run out of money to lose.  Followed shortly by the loss of the jobs.

After all, where else can you buy hope a dollar at a time?   Don’t be fooled – you can’t.  It’s just another get-rich-quick gimmick.