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LETTER: Fear-Mongering About Casinos Doesn’t Change the Facts

Casino expansion would provide numerous benefits to the Richmond area but critics aren’t convinced – and they’re using a litany of antiquated stereotypes to distort their case.

Earlier this week, Robin Martin authored an op-ed attacking a caricature of a made-in-Hollywood depiction of the gaming industry that couldn’t be further from reality.

Citing 30-year-old academic research, Ms. Martin reiterates disproven myths about increase in bankruptcy, crime and addiction when a casino comes to town.

While inconvenient for her argument, the facts don’t support these assertions. Numerous independent studies, including research from the U.S. Treasury Department, show no correlation between bankruptcy rates and access to casinos. More still point to an actual reduction in crime when gaming companies bring their integrated resorts and private security to new communities.

Today’s American gaming industry is enhancing communities in 44 states. We invest hundreds of millions of dollars a year in to ensure our customers play responsibly, our employees recognize troubling behavior and intervene and for the 2-3 percent of the population who can’t play responsibly, ensuring they have access to problem gambling resources.

Beyond the gaming floor, modern casinos bring new restaurants and entertainment options. They bring valuable jobs, and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue which is invested back in their communities, enhancing everything from the fire department to schools.

But even more than that, casinos are exceptional stewards of our communities. We support local nonprofits, donate tons of food to support the food insecure, and recently, have been testing and vaccinating our neighbors to support an expedited return to normal.

Ms. Martin seems to prefer that Virginians take their money to bordering gaming states or keep using the illegal market without protection from stringent regulatory oversight. Trying to convince Richmonders that this is preferable alternative is naïve and irresponsible.

The gaming industry is excited about the future and how we can contribute to what makes cities like Richmond unique. We’re proud of our work in communities all over the country, and can’t wait to bring our energy, and our economic engines to cities across Virginia.

Bill Miller
American Gaming Association
President and CEO

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