Thursday, June 20, 2013

Casinos are private businesses: we privatized their gains, so let's not socialize their losses

First, a note:  Wade Malcolm's reporting on the casino issue is written to the standard to which the News Journal should aspire.  I've known Wade for about four years (personal disclaimer) since he had the higher ed beat, and I've always known him to pursue multiple sources and dedicate research time necessary to understand a subject before he started writing about it.

But the fact of the matter is this:  casino owners have made millions as corporate tax farmers for the State of Delaware.  Everybody involved knew (or damn sure should have known) that the glut of casino profits and tax revenue was a time-limited thing.

Casino operators had the business obligation to diversify, innovate, or die on the vine when nearby states got into the act.  Given three choices, they have selected (D):  keep blindly doing what you were doing all along and whine to the state for more money when times are tough.

Likewise, the Governor and the General Assembly had to realize that this steady stream of gambling revenue couldn't last forever, and they should know by now (as Wade's article pointed out), that there's actually not much Delaware can actually do to save the casinos.

So next year it is time to tighten the budget belt (again!) and start looking for the "next big thing" to generates some millions to spend on buying hunting preserves in Sussex or new sidewalks in specific Wilmington neighborhoods.

Here's a hint, General Assembly:

It took decades before the organizers of Firefly proved what everybody should have known from NASCAR races at Dover Downs:  if you put on events of regional and national interest, they will come, and they will spend money by the millions.  When they spend money by the millions, our businesses do well and gross receipt revenues go up.

So maybe we should be researching how to make Delaware more attractive to big event promoters, since we already have a great location.  A study on how to do that would cost only a fraction of the $8 million that Governor Harding Markell proposes to bail out a dying industry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still dont understand why Dover Downs showcases such acts as Earthquake (who the hell is Earthquake) when you've got a stadium that hold a hundred thousand people and could hold major summer acts on the infield like Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett, etc. That seems like a larger draw than Earthquake.