My initial knee-jerk opposition to ruining hundreds of acres of farmland near Amsterdam for something as useless as a casino was mainly out of environmental consideration.
The arguments put forth by this venture’s proponents seemed to smack of pie-in-the-sky, while its opponents advanced a more convincing case, citing the socio-economic track records of existing casinos.
As we know, Schenectady landed this boondoggle and we have about a year’s track record to examine.
The Jan. 14 Gazette featured opinion pieces by Dr. Roger H. Hull and columnist Sara Foss.
In short, the Rivers casino’s first year has been marked by economic underperformance and alarming increases in social costs that can’t be measured solely by dollars.
Sara cites statistics from Philip Rainer, chief clinical officer at Capital Counseling, the non-profit agency that runs the Center for Problem Gambling in Albany. “In February 2017, there were 24 people enrolled in the center’s gambling treatment problem. By December, that number has risen to 54 -- a 60 percent increase.”
So as not to weaken the argument against casinos, these figures need correction. Fifty-four is a 125 percent increase over 24. This mathematical miscalculation may have led Sara to comment: “These numbers may not sound huge.”
A problem growing at this rate is alarming to say the least.
What’s become very clear is the pile of BS peddled in promoting casinos. That’s huuuge.
Gordon F. Schaufelberg