Casinos have become a large part of cities’ economy and hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. They are exciting for many people who feel they have a chance to win big. Because so much money is flowing into casinos, local businesses are being affected.
Most are not thriving with the new tourism and the seemingly revived economy. In 1994, more people made the trip to a casino than to a ballpark (Popkin). The casinos are attracting so much of Americans’ dollars that they spend less on books, music albums, and attractions (Reed). The people are spending less money outside of the casino, which is not helping the vast majority of local businesses. This is what is most often overlooked by the city.
The money from tourists and the community is not going into local businesses, but instead into the casino. Robert Goodman, an Urban Planning professor, states that newly opened casinos suck money out of the local economy, away from existing movie theaters, car dealerships, clothing shops, and sports arenas (Popkin). Casinos take money away from existing businesses. In Atlantic City, where casinos were supposed to save their failing economy, over 900 of their 2,100 small businesses have closed, and the number of restaurants has been reduced from 243 to 146. By providing everything a person needs, casinos are designed to keep people inside. The truth is that casinos drain money out of an area into a faraway bank account, most often never going back into the community.
Casino revenues may look good on paper to the average person and politicians who are constantly being pushed to gain more revenue. In reality, they are almost a nightmare for small locally owned businesses. Jobs are one of the main reasons for the growth of casinos. Across the continent, casinos have created tens of thousands of jobs for unemployed people (Clines).
Indian casinos in Minnesota have created approximately 5,000 jobs. Between 1975 and 1992, employment in Atlantic City’s service industry grew by 608 percent. A significant part of this growth came from casinos, which created 95 percent of the new jobs. The casinos also increased construction jobs by ninety-three percent and created 600 new transportation jobs (Reed). Overall, casinos provide many new jobs for an area. However, construction jobs decline once the casino is completed, and employment may decline as demand for their services drops off.
During the same time period from 1975 to 1992, manufacturing jobs decreased by eighty-four percent. Employment in real estate, insurance, and finance fell by forty-one percent (Reed). While some jobs increased, others declined due to a shift in demand for certain jobs. Casinos may help some jobs but harm others. Even with casinos, Atlantic City has the highest unemployment rate in New Jersey.
A reason for this is that the casino jobs went to people who moved in from out of state, not to the people the casino was built to help (Reed). Casinos create many new jobs and opportunities for people in the area. If the jobs are supposed to help the state’s unemployment, the state government should do a better job of giving the jobs to people in the state. The jobs do not help the state’s unemployment if they hire workers from out of state. This defeats one of the main reasons for building a casino.
This is having a visible economic impact on different people.