To the Editor:
In reference to William Dow’s recent letter advocating casinos in Lake George, I do not believe the rosy picture presented by Mr. Dow.
I have read a variety of studies and attended meetings regarding the effects gambling has on communities. I have learned that the hoped-for financial benefits of hosting casinos seldom accrue to the host towns and villages. One reason cited is that most casinos operate with a captive audience, who stay on the premises to eat, sleep, shop and gamble, without encouraging them to circulate in the host municipality to spend money.
Other negatives cited are that casinos attract certain the undesirable types, spur crime and cater to compulsive gamblers — a heart-rending problem.
Two years ago I was in Las Vegas to visit relatives, and the glitz and the crowds of the casinos did not seem to help the neighborhoods on the periphery of that famous strip. There were hundreds of For Sale and Bankruptcy signs, and I’ve since read that there are a number of casinos in financial trouble and are restructuring or closing.
A reference in the letter to the editor about the “Adirondack style” casino that would be built is somewhat a joke. Will we see some more pastel-colored faux stone facade like on the local Rite Aid building — their sad attempt to blend in with our Adirondack heritage?
I also wonder about the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, which has exclusive rights to a casino in the Adirondacks. It’s been said that they might have breached their contract and so could lose their exclusive right to conduct gambling. The casino advocates are ready to pounce even before this is determined. — Not as if there is anything in our history about being fair to the Indians!
Also, Lake George is a family-type resort, and it should be kept that way. Many years ago the village had the chance to do something really important: tap into the fascinating history and the lore of the area — like Colonial Williamsburg has done — and offer a tourist attraction that had meaning and relevance to this area. Think French Indian War, Revolution, Early Adirondack Settlers, Victorian Age of the Lake, etc.
Instead, they went the Coney Island route and now want the gambling image. Not for this taxpayer!
Bonnie Columb, Lake George