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Big casinos are bad for local business: Donald Trump

Supporters of the Las Vegas-style casino at B.C. Place argue that an expansion in gaming will create new jobs and lead to economic growth in the province. It's a flawed argument, according to real estate magnate and casino owner Donald Trump.

“People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they lose customer dollars to the casinos,” he said in a newspaper interview.

Trump is quoted by Massachusetts senator Jamie Eldridge, in an op-ed for the MetroWest Daily News on the expansion of gaming in his state. Gambling proponents fail to mention the jobs that will be lost due to gambling as well as those that will be gained, Eldridge wrote.

"They don’t mention the local businesses, especially restaurants and entertainment businesses, that will suffer when casinos come to town, nor do they mention the effect that sucking billions of dollars out of the local economy, and sending it out-of-state to wealthy casino developers, will have on our communities."

Paragon Gaming, the B.C. Place casino developers, are a Nevada-based company. If city council approves the proposal, Vancouver will receive a small percentage of the profits. The amount is yet to be revealed.

As The Courier reported, a city report released in June 2008 indicated that the total contribution to the Social Responsibility Reserve of Paragon's Edgewater Casino was $700,000 and expected to grow at a rate of $200,000 a year until July 2013, totaling $1.7 million.

Massachusetts senator Eldridge argued that casinos suck money that could otherwise be spent locally. "This means that for casinos to make a profit, people either need to spend money they don’t have, or people need to spend money at the casino that they would otherwise spend somewhere else."

Rather than shilling out for clothing, restaurants, sporting events or theatre tickets, Vancouverites might opt to feed the slot machines.

The cost of building a casino will also be measured in lost opportunities.

Eldridge cited Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Samuelson, who believes that casinos do not have as positive an effect on the economy as spending and investing in other industries.

"We need more jobs in Massachusetts, but expanding gambling is simply not an effective long-term economic development strategy," Eldridge wrote.

Is it an effective long-term economic development strategy for BC?

More in Casino

Hard Rock Casino Vancouver opens in Coquitlam

Under Raj Mutti, the Hard Rock comes to Vancouver (or at least Coquitlam) for the very first time.

One last chance for public input on casino near BC Place on Monday

Citizen group Vancouver Not Vegas urges postponing until the chief medical health officer's report comes in.
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