Promise of casino cannot be fulfilled

I am writing in response to The News editorial “Failed Promise” regarding the Seneca-owned casinos in Western New York. It is a “failed promise” because it is a promise that can never be fulfilled. Outside of Las Vegas, which is a resort-styled destination, regional casinos are an economic negative, not a positive.

The vast majority of the money that enters the casino’s doors is local money. It’s coming from Western New Yorkers, a percentage of whom shouldn’t be gambling at all. True regional economic growth is impossible when your primary clientele is local. It’s like cutting a pie into six pieces and expecting there to be more pie when you are done slicing it.

The whole business model of a casino is 100 percent inward focused. If you enter a casino, you can gamble, eat, drink and sleep all within the confines of the establishment. Looking around the local casinos, you see minimal investment that has been spurred on by the casinos. By its design, it encourages patrons to spend money in and only in the casino, not in the community.

The effective result of the local casinos is taking economic potential away from the region, not adding to it. It’s time we recognize this reality and focus on pro-growth, pro-business strategies, not on “flash in the pan” regional net losers like casinos.

Tom Smalley