Wednesday, October 10, 2007

casino notes

The Deal notes that MGM Mirage announced plans build a $5 billion, 72-acre resort in Atlantic City. Any impact on the future revenues of the yet to be built Philly casino? on other PA casinos? even on our casino? For perspective $5 billion is about 10 times what Don Barden will spend building the casino here.

News already going around about how the Majestic Star is likely to not open until 2009. No big surprise really given that winter is approaching fast, but remember how earlier in the year it was possible this fall could have seen both the new arena and casino under construction. With unlimited time it would be a fun exercise to go back in time and extract all the quotes predicting when the casino would open and track how they have changed over time.

I have brought this up before, but the PG ER blog points out how local state rep Don Walko is concerned that local Bingo operators are "having trouble attracting people to traditional bingos, raffles and other "small games of chance" ". If that is true now, has anyone at all asked the question what impact the new casino will have on local bingo operators. Also as the PG blog paraphrases Walko, local bingo operators are typically "nonprofit groups, churches and volunteer fire companies ". Trust me, there will be a story someday about some local fire department or church closing its bingo, or facing significant shortfalls and I bet the casino will be blamed one way or another.

You can read all about the other casino travails involving such as the anticipated parking issues and the ever larger neighborhood issues. We will forever be debating the economic costs and benefit of the casino to the city/county and region. What I read of the escalating conflagration on the North Side just makes me sad. Is the casino worth having city residents fight amongst themselves? While I am sure acrimony will get very personal, I think the structure of how we got to this point fed all of this. The anticipation of various forms of community support to be fed by the casino operation was left mostly unspecified and vague in the entire casino licensing process. Is it that surprising that different interests now have different ideas over the form of that support? There has to have been a better way to do this?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make an excellent point. Economic development investments are made on the public behalf, and the proposed benefits need to be explicit and debated. When they are not, there is the potential for problems later on.

The process for negotiating those benefits seems odd in the city. Normally one would expect the political leadership negotiating the deal to make those benefits explict, and the delivery of those benefits a key justification for using public funds (or in this case, for relaxing public regulations). But it seems that there has been money left on the table, leaving others the opportunity to negotiate directly with the developers.

In the case of the Northside, it appears as though political leadership may have been part of the process of negotiating the deal with the Northside Leadership Conference. If that deal was not exclusive, then it has to be very troubling to anyone who wants to do business in the city.

It's nice to see that so many want to participate in the political process. It would be better to see that a reasonable process was set up for that to happen constructively and fairly.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 1:01:00 PM  

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