Tuesday, December 19, 2006

tick tock

Like everyone else I feel obliged to comment on the imminent casino announcement. I am tempted to make some prediction about who will get the license tomorrow..... but the truth is I have no basis to pick one way or the other. Ubiquitous prognostication aside, the state gaming board can do whatever it chooses and nobody has any clue whatsoever about their thoughts at this point. Never has so much been written about which we know so little. There are enough pro's and con's which each proposal that they could find some justification for any of the choices at hand. In that sense they are even freer to do whatever they want. I am not sure about this, but I don't think will be required to provide any detailed report or justification for their decision even after the fact. Will we ever really know what went into this decision?

I will just say that it would be ironic that after all the ink about whether Harrahs or Isle of Capri would get the license:what if Don Barden's Majestic Star proposal wins in the end. We will see.

Maybe people can help me with this. It would be useful to add up all the official/semi-official or otherwise stated opinions about who will or should get the license before ex-post revisionism sets in. Off the top of my head I come up with:

City Planning: Harrah's
City's Gaming Task Force: Isle of Capri
Local Hockey Fans: Isle of Capri
Tom Murphy's 'fix': Harrahs
Steelers: not Majestic Star

I am sure the list is a lot longer, but it's a start. Is it even worthwhile to start going thought individual politicians and their stated preferences?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember some study that determined that Majestic Star (North Side) produced the most tax revenue of the three proposals.

That, coupled with the fact that it is the furthest away from my house, is why I support the North Side site. [The Penguins already have a perfectly good arena; and I live on the South Side, so my natural NIMBY instinct is kicking in to oppose Station Sq.]

As far as "official" support of a specific proposal, The South Side Local Development Corp. cut a deal with Forest City to support their site in exchange for pieces of silver *cough*, I mean $50,000 over the next several years (whether Station Sq. gets the casino or not) and double that amount if they actually get the casino, and a "promise" to include them in design considerations. [Similar to how the Sofer Corp. was supposed to include the locals in SS Works design issues, but that one turned out badly...]. I believe one of the several Mt. Washington CDC's got in on this deal as well.

I'm waffling back and forth between being disgusted with the SSLDC for selling out the neighborhood, or to admire their ability to shake down Forest City for $50G a year (possibly more).

The various Hill District groups that missed out on Isle of Capri's largesse could really take a page out of the SSLDC's book in terms of dealing with corrupt casino operators - forget gambling addiction and neighborhood concerns and GO FOR THE CASH!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, I'm happy now - the license went to the North Side site.
I think I'll celebrate with a cupcake!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 1:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the discussion is focused on the choice of casino operators, but I don't want to lose the thought:
If the economic revitalization of inner city areas is dependent upon non-profits such as SSLDC, then why are they so starved for cash that they have to negotiate potentially compromising contractual relationships?
If the work of these non-profits is in the public interest, shouldn't there be transparency and rules of ethical conduct for the organizations? From what I understand, these "contributions" from developers are fairly common.
If there is a collective interest in revitalizing urban areas, neither rent-seeking shakedowns, nor potentially compromised community resposibilities, seem like good policy.

Friday, December 22, 2006 9:36:00 AM  

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