January 4, 2012

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Economists responding to survey say casinos are bad for New York

NEW YORK – A survey of economists conducted by the Center for Thrift and Generosity at the Institute for American Values in New York finds most believe legalized casino gaming in New York would be bad.

Governor Cuomo and the state legislature are in the early stages of considering the legalization of casinos in New York and that would have the potential of significantly impacting Sullivan County’s economy. Native American tribes have been trying for years to cut through the maze of federal red tape to win approval for gaming.

Of those economists responding to the survey, 68 percent said casinos are economically regressive.

The think tank group didn’t necessarily need the survey to form its opinion. Senior Fellow Paul Davies said the Institute for American Values believes casinos are bad.

“Most of the people that gamble tend to be elderly, poor and minority, so they are the ones spending the money in the casinos,” Davis said. “It trips wealth out of the community because it’s money that gets diverted away from other spending initiatives, whether it be food, gasoline, heat, or anything else. It’s a very negative impact on communities in general.”

“Legalized casino gambling encourages people to pin their hopes on games of chance that are stacked against them,” said Cornell University economist Prof. Robert Frank. “Those who are determined to gamble will find some way to do so, but why lend government’s imprimatur to predators’ efforts to exploit people who can least afford to bear the inevitable losses?”

Another respondent to the survey, Union College economist Prof. Mary O’Keefe said casino gambling “is not just economically regressive, it is sociologically destructive to the community.”

David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, said with, “This strong consensus among many of the state’s economists highlights the need for the governor and others to produce the evidence that casino gambling is not a failed economic policy before any action is taken to amend the State’s Constitution.”


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