|Mr. Mel Fischer, Director
Missouri Gaining Commission
11775 Borman Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63146
Dear Mr. Fischer:
I am writing as a merchant in good standing in Kimmswick, Mo. to voice my strong objection to the possibility of there being a casino on the floodplain immediately adjacent to our little town. The reasons for this are more than likely familiar to you, for you sit in a position where all the commentary, pro and con, is to be received objectively.
The reasons for my position are what they have been from the beginning and I will review some of them below.
First, gambling facilities destroy local businesses, particularly small businesses. Kimmswick's business community is entirely made up of small businesses which have become successful through hard work, honestly rendered to a dedicated clientele and an ever-increasing number of new people who discover our town and its shops. It is well documented that there were 55 shops in the mountain town of Central City, Colorado when a casino came into the area. A year after the casino came to town, there were only four shops remaining. Atlantic City lost 50% of its businesses in 14 years. These facts do not speak well for gambling companies. They do not make good neighbors.
Second, it may sound like an old, worn out excuse, but time does not negate the truth that every community that "gets" a casino inevitably ends up spending substantial sums on increased law enforcement. Second only to larcenies and assaults on people, is the increase in the number of automobile accidents, property damage and rape 2 to 3 times the norm. The good quality of life in a small community with small businesses is compromised very quickly.
Third, gambling companies are not truthful in their stated intent and operation. When the casino industry came to Missouri, it painted pretty word pictures about wholesome trips on the river, providing good jobs and helping the people. One myth is that gambling is "harmless fun". It turns out that this fun produces gambling addiction. In Maryland some years ago, it was estimated that it cost the citizens $1.5 billion in lost productivity, embezzled, stolen or otherwise abused dollars. One more. Having started as cruising riverboats, casinos are now confined to artificial lagoons, and gambling companies are campaigning to have the loss limits increased or done away with. And what will be next? Land based casinos?
Controlling casinos is something that legislators are loath to do. The tax money that casinos wave under legislators' noses is seen as a lucrative source of revenue that he or she does not have to raise otherwise. The casino then campaigns to have its tax obligation reduced for whatever reason. This, of course, raises their gross profit - which is beyond the imagination of a small business person - most of which leaves the state. For these reasons, I object to the presence of a casino in the flood plain site chosen for it.
It is my hope that the gaming commission stands objectively as the regulator of gambling companies, not the promoter. To reiterate my position, Kimmswick does not need nor want a casino on its doorstep.
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