Detroit Casinos Serve as Example for Illinois
Detroit Casinos Serve as Example for Illinois
Written By David E. Smith   |   01.28.08

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Three Detroit casinos similar to those proposed by Illinois lawmakers have fallen about a half-billion dollars short of initial projections and created thousands fewer jobs than predicted in what could be stark warning. According to a recent Boston Herald article, developers, politicians and casino proponents promised that three Detroit casinos would rake in up to $1.8 billion but in 2007 the gambling parlors took in $1.335 billion, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

A Michigan state senate report in 2000, meanwhile, estimated the casinos would create 10,500 jobs but so far the gambling venues have just 7,000 permanent workers. The same report predicted the city’s annual haul would reach $1.4 billion by 2004. The report also showed growth down four percent over the previous year.

Detroit City Councilor JoAnn Watson said the casinos have “created social and economic devastation” that has led to 20 percent of the city’s small businesses going “belly up.”

“There were a lot of promises made in terms of how the economy would improve and jobs, jobs, jobs,” Watson said. “But the circumstances in the aftermath of the casinos have been ‘Lord have mercy.’ The ballyhooed promise of prosperity has not occurred.”

University of Illinois business and legal policy professor John W. Kindt has been warning lawmakers about the negative impact of gambling for nearly two decades now.

Professor Kindt has testified against gambling before Congress and the Illinois General Assembly a number of times, asserting that gambling is a “catalyst for economic downturn,” and pointing out the fact that the state simply “cannot gamble [its] way to prosperity. Every economist says you can’t do it.”

The evidence from Detriot only underscores the professor’s findings — casinos only produce more problems — addictions, bankruptcies, broken homes and crime.

David  E. Smith
Dave Smith is the executive director of Illinois Family Institute (501c3) and Illinois Family Action (501c4). David has 30 years of experience in public policy and grass-roots activism that includes...
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