Pros and Cons of Open Gambling
Part 2: Cold Hard Cash
By Leslie McCartney of The
March 2, 2003
|Will gambling in Butte bring
about the proposed Destination: Montana! idea of high-altitude
sports centers, golf courses and music hall shows along with
casinos? Only time will tell, but it's wise to take note
of what other towns learned of the changes that can come with
It is hard to ignore the tantalizing prospect of cash in a
Under the proposal shopped to Butte last week, $159 million in
gambling tax would be collected annually, 3 percent of that would go
to the state and .5 percent would be dolled out locally. In
addition, tax revenues from entertainment tickets and room taxes
would yield a small fortune.
Consider a few numbers from other communities:
In Tunica, Miss., residents pay no property tax due to the success
Last year, statewide adjusted gross proceeds for Colorado casinos --
the third Colorado town allowing gambling is Cripple Creek -- was
$719.7 million, a 6.4 percent increase from the year before. That
came despite a recession. Also, the state's Historical Fund, which
is fed largely by gambling dollars, is the healthiest around with
millions of dollars earmarked for historic preservation.
Without gambling, Deadwood would not have new water lines,
re-bricked roads, and a revitalized and spruced-up downtown.
"Deadwood was dying," Vogt pointed out. "Something was needed to be
done to infuse the economy and city of Deadwood."
Gambling especially finds fertile ground in struggling communities,
and Butte's response to Barrett Singer and Robert Tormey's proposal
to fill the Uptown with musical venues, wide-open gambling and
recreational facilities has been overwhelmingly positive.
Naomi Greer of the American Gaming Association of Washington, D.C.,
said that a federal commission's research found gambling has been
most successful in economically depressed areas. "It's really
rejuvenated these communities," Greer said.
She pointed out that besides the obvious benefits, there are others
as well such as people finding work who were either previously
unemployed or underemployed. Earning a living allows them spend
their dollars locally and helps local businesses, she said.
It also thinks the ranks of welfare-dependent people lessens when
jobs are readily available and increases other coffers, such as
charitable causes, she added.
>> part 3 :: A
Tale of Three Cities ::
<< part 1 :: Pros and
Cons of Open Gambling in Butte ::
© Copyright Leslie McCartney and the Montana
Standard, reproduced by permission.