Thursday, April 02, 2009

Atlanta's Casino - Atlanta devolves into Pottersville?

We are one step away from having a casino in the middle of downtown Atlanta.

"The Atlanta City Council and Mayor Shirley Franklin have endorsed the project. The casino development could help to relieve the city of an estimated $56 million balance on roughly $85 million in bonds issued for redevelopment of the site in the 1980s. "
Read the full article here

All of this brings to mind Yeats -

"The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity...

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? "-Yeats - The Second Coming

Will we allow Atlanta to devolve into Pottersville ? We should demand a referendum on this issue, and demand it straight away before we lose our ability to participate in the process.

Is this the best idea our city and state's business and political leadership can conceive of for this prime real estate? Real estate situated in the middle of our downtown area, across the street from the Capitol building (full of erstwhile "Conservatives"), and adjacent to the largest University student body (GSU) in the Atlanta metro region.. ALL THEY CAN COME UP WITH IS A CASINO?!

Georgia State University, "Founded in 1913 in Atlanta, Georgia State University is the second-largest and one of four research institutions in the University System of Georgia."

Atlanta is a premier national city! We have a strong business community. We have so many great things about our region and the city itself.

Atlanta is not a resort destination.

Atlanta is by no means a flagging metro area desperately stooping to anything in the name of economic development.

This initiative displays a lack of vision, a lack of transparent representative government processes, and exemplifies the power the "machine" has to override the general disposition of the public.

The casino increase law enforcement costs by the increase in organized crime and vice related activity. We can not afford our current law enforcement budget as it is!

There are demonstrable negative impacts that a casino will bring upon our community. These are well researched and documented. Our tax dollars will have to offset these impacts.

Please download this document from University of Chicago as an example. The University of Chicago is home to economic luminaries such as Milton Friedman. Perhaps they understand how to research economic impacts of a given initiative?



  2. Selected Facts from U of Chicago Research-

    Per capita income stays the same, indicating the communities reap more jobs, but not necessarily better jobs. There appears to be more of a shift in the types and locations of work than a net improvement in the local standard of living.

    There is wide perception among community leaders that indebtedness tends to
    increase as does youth crime, forgery and credit card theft, domestic violence, child neglect, problem gambling, and alcohol/drug offenses.

    The availability of a casino within 50 miles (versus 50 to 250 miles) is associated with about double the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers, according to the combined patron and telephone survey results.

    Pathological and problem gamblers in the United States cost society approximately $5 billion per year and an additional $40 billion in lifetime costs for productivity reductions, social services, and creditor losses.

  3. I can smell the putrid fumes of corruption lapping over this article..

    January 28, 2008
    Study Recommends Casinos in Atlanta

    ATLANTA, GA – The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported the findings of a recent study about legalizing casinos in Atlanta. The report by PKF Hospitality Research was requested by high level Atlanta business leaders who want to keep Atlanta competitive as a top tourist destination.

    Based on at least one Las Vegas-style casino built in downtown Atlanta:

    Adds up to $1.7 billion to Atlanta’s economy
    Creates 10,800 new jobs
    Adds $136.3 million in annual tax revenues
    Adds nearly $3 million in city hotel-motel taxes
    May bring massive redevelopment of the central business district
    The report cited other cities where gambling and conventions work together to attract more visitors:
    - 1st-ranked Las Vegas has $6 billion in casino revenue
    - 2nd-ranked Chicagoland, Ind., has $5 billion
    - 16th-ranked New Orleans has $534 million

    The social cost of problem gambling is also reported and could cost Atlanta $320 million a year. About 8% of Americans over 18 are susceptible to gambling dependency. If there is a casino within 50 miles, it is estimated this percentage doubles.

    Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts has long been an advocate for local casinos. "Georgians love to gamble," he said. "Georgians go to the Carolinas, and Mississippi and Nevada in huge numbers. It's my prediction that within five years, we will have casino gambling here in the state of Georgia."


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