Professor I. Nelson Rose testified as an expert witness as the senate debates a bill that would make existing hotels eligible for casino licenses if they buy or renovate property in enterprise zones.
Law professor and gambling industry consultant I. Nelson Rose testified about the limits of casino gambling for development, urging the Legislature to do some studies first.
Rose said the money generated by casino gambling is generally less than hoped for and comes with negative effects as local dollars go into gambling instead of goods and services at local businesses.
“A casino develops about one block,” Rose said, adding that he consulted with the town of Windsor, Ontario, on casino development and advised them to go ahead, in part because they had a large, nearby source of customers in Detroit. Locals, by contrast, do most casino gambling on St. Croix, he pointed out.
Rose said he also advised Windsor that their gains would be offset by the need for more sewage treatment, more water, roads and utilities, and more traffic. And casino gamblers do not spend money in shops and restaurants, limiting the benefit.
While not necessarily opposed to this bill, Rose said, “The problem I see with this one, unlike the casino and racino, is this allows people who don’t even have cars to easily get to the casino, which will bring in a much poorer clientele. I don’t think it will attract tourists.”
He urged the Legislature to “do the studies first. Don’t rush into something this big and controversial with less than a week.”
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