Kenosha County is one of the most prosperous counties in Wisconsin, a far cry from where we were even a decade ago. The prosperity we now enjoy is due to the deliberate effort to attract good economic development such as Uline and Nosco corporate headquarters and landing large new distribution and production facilities like Amazon and HARIBO.
This kind of sound economic development creates a bright economic future for Kenosha County even through catastrophic events like the COVID pandemic.
Most of the research conducted in the United States about how gambling and regional casinos impact citizens and communities is done by the gambling industry, and the researchers who conduct these studies are funded by gambling profits. This creates a conflict of interest and bias in the findings in studies.
Local government investment in casinos brings the promise of a new and easy stream of revenues. It’s lazy legislating at its finest: elected officials don’t have to cut spending nor increase taxes – but there’s a catch. With 25 casinos located throughout Wisconsin, no one has more than a 2-hour drive to get to one. And, Illinois has multiple casinos just across the state line.
Eventually, the revenues decline, and we all pay extra taxes and get less services. Meanwhile, the casino continues to profit and erode a lot the prosperity in our community.
A Good Way to Wreck a Local Economy: Build Casinos – The Atlantic sums it up best: “The impact of casinos on neighboring property values is “unambiguously negative,” according to the economists at the National Association of Realtors. Casinos don’t encourage non-gaming businesses to open nearby, because the people who most often visit casinos do not wander out to visit other shops and businesses. A casino is not like a movie theater or a sports stadium, offering a time-limited amusement. It is designed to be an all-absorbing environment that does not release its customers until they have exhausted their money.”
The health and social science implications take a toll as well. The Institute of American Values report outlines 31 evidence-based propositions that our elected officials should carefully weigh before jumping into the deep end of yet another Wisconsin casino.