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Is The Gamble On Casinos Paying Off?

Do we now have a national casino glut? All the problems, less upside?

An artist's rendering of MGM's proposed resort-style casino in Downtown Springfield (Courtesy)

An artist’s rendering of MGM’s proposed resort-style casino in Downtown Springfield, Mass. (Courtesy)

Decades ago, Las Vegas and Atlantic City hit it big with casinos. The jackpot story lingered as gambling and casinos spread across much of the rest of the country, on riverboats and reservations and promises of endless new revenue for struggling states. Best of all, it was casino visitors from out-of-state who would feed your state’s slot machines and coffers. Now, casinos are all over. Two dozen within a hundred miles of Philadelphia. Shakeouts in Indiana and Mississippi. Near “saturation” in the Northeast. Locals now the players. And revenues, down. This hour On Point: the casino pinch.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Vin Narayanan, Managing editor at the Casino City Times.

Doug Walker, Professor of economics at the College of Charleston, expert on the economic and social effects of casinos and author of Casinonomics: The Socioeconomic Impacts of the Casino Industry, and The Economics of Casino Gambling.

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Director of the Center for Thrift and Generosity at the Institute for American Values, a New-York-based think tank focusing on family and social issues, and editor of Franklin’s Thrift: The History of a Lost American Virtue.

From Tom’s reading list:

The Wall Street Journal (Subscription): Casino Boom Pinches Northeastern States – Racetrack casinos used to contribute as much as $240 million a year to Delaware’s tax coffers. But as the Northeast becomes saturated with gambling venues, the state’s casino revenue has tumbled, prompting a new industry request—for a tax break.

The New York Times: Gaming the Poor – In recent years, 23 other states have legalized and licensed commercial (as opposed to Native American) gambling facilities. In the casino-dense Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, where 26 casinos have opened since 2004 and at least a dozen more are under development, most adults now live within a short drive of one.

ABC News: Tunica Reels as Competition, Recession Hit Casinos – The Tunica Miracle — as boosters called the coming of gambling to what had been an isolated, economically moribund slice of the Mississippi Delta — is over. A boom that peaked with 13,000 jobs has slid into a struggle for survival.

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