11 Thoughts on Casino Gambling

By Jeffrey Pageroulette wheel

— A gaming corporation says that part of its proposal for a casino in Sterling Forest would be the construction – at its own expense – of Thruway Exit 15B about halfway between the New Jersey state line and Harriman, the Times Herald-Record reported this week.

— The impact of such construction on Harriman State Park would be significant. In fact, Exit 15B arose as an issue about 20 years ago and most people understood that such a project would probably force the state to widen Route 17A, whose hilliness and narrowness just west of the Thruway are what keeps Warwick and some other towns as rural as they’ve remained. Expand Route 17A and kiss Warwick’s charm goodbye.

— The Times Herald-Record said that such a casino would create 2,000 jobs. But the paper didn’t differentiate between construction jobs and permanent staff positions. On the matter of permanent jobs, the paper says nothing about the number of croupiers and chambermaids – never known to be career-starting positions – who are included in that group of 2,000.

— Something else I haven’t seen – maybe I missed it – is a serious investigation into what casino gambling has cost other host municipalities. Supporters frequently talk up gaming’s positive effect on property taxes. But I wonder how much in new expenses is added to municipal budgets – and, of course, to local taxes – as a result of casino gambling. This would include such costs as additional police officers, more assistant prosecutors, and more social services and public assistance caseworkers.

— Have there been any studies on the possible increase in prostitution and drug use?

— It is not unreasonable to assume that local traffic would be nightmarish.

— Does the value of your home go up because more people want to move close to the casino for fun and/or jobs? Or does it decrease because of the very existence of a casino just minutes away?

— I can’t be the only one to understand that there’s no quiet time when it comes to casinos. The longer the house stays open, the more of your money it can squeeze out of you. The roulette wheels never stop turning, the dice never stop being tossed, the blackjack decks never stop being shuffled.

— Sure, placing a pile of chips on No. 9 at the roulette wheel is a lot of fun and might even give you a snazzy return. But who was the last person you know personally who played at the blackjack table and went home significantly richer?

— Question: Does anyone living in southern Orange County really wish to have a casino just down the road?

— Finally, we should remember that Sterling Forest is both a water source for 2 million people in northern New Jersey as well as a pristine New York state park of 22,000 acres. When Sterling Forest was saved from large scale development nearly 20 years ago, when it was in private hands, it was the complicated result of two states working together even including New Jersey’s buying a small tract in New York’s forest. It was understood that New Jersey needed its water and we needed our park.

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2 Responses to “11 Thoughts on Casino Gambling”

  1. Andrew Mclaughlin Says:

    Right you are, Jeffrey. A casino would surely end the charm of Warwick. It is in danger now with the impending arrival of a few more corporate eateries — Subway and Dunkin Donuts. Just imagine the whole smear of them coming. So it goes.

  2. Lee Steup Says:

    All valid points, Jeffrey. A couple of more considerations, if you please:

    Gambling and drinking go hand in hand. I grew up near Vernon Downs Racetrack. Every summer we could count on at least half a dozen chain-reaction auto accidents practically in our front year due to the slowed reactions of drunken drivers.

    Also, let’s not forget that gambling can be an addiction. Do we want our kids growing up and getting introduced to gambling all too early? There are plenty of people in local communities who don’t see gambling as wholesome, safe and acceptable entertainment.

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