Why Casino Gambling Won’t Work in Upstate New York*

  |  September 4, 2013
photo by Triin Q/from Flickr, used via Creative Commons license

photo by Triin Q/from Flickr, used via Creative Commons license

Let’s state up front that we have official stance on gambling, and certainly Upstater takes no moral position on gambling (or gaming, as its advocates prefer to call it). We are interested in the economic development of the Catskills and Hudson Valley and open to achieving that through a variety of initiatives.

But today we spoke with an expert on economic developing and gaming, and learned this: the gaming industry is moving away from rural, stand-alone casinos. The most successful new casinos are urban, and they are linked to a large variety of established cultural institutions like concert halls and museums; they make partnerships with local businesses and then the local businesses support the casinos, and the whole city is happy. Capice?

Just like sports stadia that work well in concert with mixed-use development but do little for cities on their own, casinos need to be part of a larger economic plan, and they need to be supported by the local business community. Although the New York State plan does call for these casinos to be resort style — i.e. with hotels attached — it seems that the vision is not integrated enough, according to our source.

He suggested this: either impel the casinos to make partnerships with local businesses or set the casinos in New York City and earmark revenue from them–which would likely be higher–for other kinds of upstate economic development. The only question left is…what kind of economic development? Hm, maybe, like, restoring abandoned bungalow colonies and the decaying grand resorts?

*The title of this post is not our official opinion, but one we learned of and are offering for your review.

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