States consider rolling the dice

Jan. 23, 2012 at 5:10 PM
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LAS VEGAS, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Politicians choosing to give Las Vegas a run for its gambling revenues might find now is a good time to push the concept, an economics professor said.

"People want jobs and they don't want higher taxes. Legalizing casinos can be argued to create jobs and tax revenues," said Douglas Walker at South Carolina's College of Charleston.

Walker, author of "The Economics of Casino Gambling," said pushing a casino project is "easy politically right now," USA Today reported.

In Florida, a state panel approved a measure that would create three new casinos in the state. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is advocating for an amendment to the state's constitution to permit casino gambling.

Massachusetts is also in the mix with a new law that allows for three casinos in the state. Politicians in Illinois are attempting to bring casino gambling to Chicago.

While frowned upon as a vice, gambling is seen as a surefire formula for creating jobs in construction and at resorts and for putting money into state coffers.

"States see an uptick in revenues when they expand gambling. That doesn't mean they become more fiscally stable," said Robert Ward, deputy director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

It remains to be seen how much a casino in Boston might draw business away from Las Vegas, but even if the effect is minimal, the cumulative effect of a dozen new casinos around the country could begin to add up.

"The world is not going to collapse next year, but it's not great news (for Vegas) over the next five or 10 years," said William Eadington, a gambling industry expert at the University of Nevada at Reno.

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