Thursday, June 9, 2016

A gambling casino in downtown Rochester? The real reasons to be concerned.

I don't care if people gamble or not.
Most people do, whether by playing the lottery or the football pools offered by most bars in the city.
I don't care if people choose to bankrupt themselves as a result of gambling. It isn't government's function to protect people from their own stupidity, although some bleeding heart liberals feel that it is.
As for a gambling casino in downtown Rochester, that is a different matter.
The way I understand it, gambling casinos in New York State are only permitted on Native American soil. Land in downtown Rochester designated for a casino would have to be ceded back to whichever Indian Nation claims jurisdiction here.
Sovereign Native American territory is not subject to usual taxation, so the city, state and federal governments would not be able to impose taxes on it that other businesses are subject to paying.
That is a problem for the rest of us taxpayers who will have to take up the slack.
Casinos in New York State are self contained. Besides gambling, they offer restaurants, entertainment, boutiques and hotel accommodations. This will not benefit the other businesses downtown.
The City of Niagara Falls, USA has not benefitted from the existence of a casino there. It remains a city in decay and Rochester should pay heed to that less than shining example.
The only benefit a casino in downtown Rochester will bring is jobs, which won't make up for the loss in tax revenue.
Of course, the promoters of a casino argue that we could negotiate all of that with whichever Indian Nation will own it.
Negotiating with the Indian Reservations that sell items like cigarettes and gasoline tax free hasn't worked so far, so why do people think this will be any different?
If a gambling casino opened in downtown Rochester that was subject to the usual property and sales taxes that the rest of us are, I'd say "Hell yes, go on with it."
Not that I'd patronize it.
Lotto, football pools and penny ante poker are good enough for me.

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