Revel Casino Was the “Right Idea”? Hardly.
Much has been written about the demise of four of Atlantic City’s twelve casinos, which will unfortunately cost 8,000 casino workers their jobs this year.
The Revel owners’ decision to invest $2.5 billion dollars for construction of the newest and largest AC casino hotel, when the increasingly competitive nature of the gambling landscape was already quite clear, is a mystery to me. The Philadelphia Inquirer, in one of its analyses, called the Revel opening the “Right Idea, Wrong Time and Place”.
In my opinion, opening a casino is never the right idea. I know it creates jobs, although most of them are low paying. But it also represents (next to taxes, I suppose), one of the most effective ways in which to extract money from those least likely to be able to afford it. Once extracted, that money goes to casino owners and state treasuries. Nothing of real value is created, certainly no products and services that benefit society.
States that encourage casino gambling (36 of them at last count) do so in order to keep the gambling dollars local. No sense letting New Jersey suck money from Pennsylvania residents, when Pennsylvania can do a good job of that right here.
Those who backed the Revel gambled and lost – badly. Undaunted, the leaders of the state of New Jersey now talk about subsidizing casinos closer to New York City. I guess they figure that they can extract money up there from the pour souls who (sadly) figure that they can beat the odds.
I’m all for growing revenue at the state level, but let’s try it the old fashioned way — reduce tax rates, encourage businesses to locate and thrive locally, to make products and provide services that bring value, and then the state can take a slice of the profit through reasonable tax rates. Let’s just try not to do it on the backs of the gambler who can least afford to support the state and the casino owners.