COMMENTARY | On May 29, the second of four casinos in Ohio opened in Toledo. The Hollywood Casino is offering a non-smoking environment and will be in direct competition with casinos located in Detroit. The first casino in Ohio opened in Cleveland two weeks ago and another Hollywood Casino is slated to open in Columbus in the fall of 2012. A final one will be located in Cincinnati and will open in the spring of 2013. It has been said that the casinos will help the economy since it has brought in construction jobs and employment for those who will work at the casinos.
It will also bring in tourism dollars since people will travel to gamble at the casinos. While this is true, there also needs to be consideration of what the overall pros and cons of having casinos in the state will be. Some are happy about the casinos due to the jobs and the money that will be put into the economy. Others are not happy about having gambling so accessible. I have been a resident of Ohio for many years and personally do not see a need for casinos.
In fact, I have been watching the Columbus casino be argued about and built on a site that used to be in a decent part of town. As the city has grown and people have moved to the outlying suburbs parts of the city has suffered greatly. The area where the Columbus casino has become one of those areas affected and has diminished over the years. The west side of Columbus is now home to many thrift shops, bargain furniture stores, and empty storefronts. In fact, the mall that is near the site of the casino has many vacant stores.
The hope in putting these casinos in Ohio is to help bring back these areas to life and help the local economy. While I understand that it will create jobs, I do not think that gambling is going to be the answer. The buildings will look nice and upscale and there will be people that will come to the casinos that will spend money on lodging, food, transportation, slotoff.com and gambling that they might not have otherwise, but at what cost?
While some people can control their gambling, there are many others that cannot. There will be people who will spend every last penny of their paycheck at these casinos instead of their rent and other living expenses at the card tables or slot machines. There will be people who spend time at the casino rather than with their families. How does that help society? While some people are excited about casinos coming to Ohio, I for one am not.
I am not looking forward to a casino opening in my community nor anywhere else in the state I live in. There are so many other options other than gambling that can help the economy that does not pose a risk to others. It might be an old-fashioned opinion but it's an honest one from an Ohio resident who does not wish to have gambling so accessible to those in their community.