I wish to disagree with the opinions expressed in the MARCH 13/14 Times Journal regarding the gambling issue in the legislature based on my experience living in a city for 9 years that has multiple casinos. I moved to Fort Payne from Vicksburg, MS in 2016. One consideration in my decision to move here was low crime rate. In my research I found that Vicksburg was rated above average in crime rate and Fort Payne was rated below average. What is a major difference in the two cities? Vicksburg has multiple casinos. Crime got personal when friends went to a casino to eat supper and were followed home by three men who broke in their house, shot them and robbed them. I cannot be convinced that crime would not increase if a casino is located in Fort Payne.
• Those who pushed having casinos in Vicksburg claimed that they would use the money to upgrade schools but it didn’t happen. In fact, the two largest employers in Vicksburg are federal government entities who allow their new employees to live 45 to 60 miles away because of the school situation among other things. They also operate vans to take these employees to and from work.
• Casinos advertise on their electronic signs the few that win but they don’t tell you about those who lose. For every dollar you spend at the casino they take out operating cost, profit and the state’s 20% tax. Simple logic tells you that most people leave with less than they came with.
• Addiction to gambling does happen. In Vicksburg there are billboards advertising help for those who are addicted.
• Families are affected negatively when they lose money at the casino that they need to feed their children and pay rent on their house.
• Casinos compete with local restaurants and hotels. In the past casino hotels have had lower rates than existing hotels making it hard to complete.
Where will the city of Fort Payne get the money to deal with the additional crime and to help families that are impacted negatively by casinos?
I don’t believe that out of state “fat cats” will finance the amount of money that is speculated to be brought in by the casinos. It will be mostly people who live in Alabama. The gambling legislation is really an inefficient form of taxation since most people that go to the casino will lose money. Property tax in Fort Payne is actually low compare to Vicksburg. I would prefer to pay more property tax than to live in a city that has casinos.
Don Meyer, Fort Payne, Alabama
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