FACT:Riverboat casinos have become a major economic force that benefits all residents of the state, and it generates millions of dollars of new money for Louisiana in several ways:
- Approximately 53% of all gaming revenue comes from out-of-state, most from Texas. As a result, on average, over $18.2 million per month is received by the state and local governments in gaming taxes.
- Local merchants such as service stations, restaurants and retail stores benefit from the increased traffic of out-of-state visitors.
- Each year, riverboat casinos pay over $368 million in salaries to some 15,000 employees.
- The industry has invested more than $1.7 billion in facility construction, and is employs hundreds of Louisiana construction workers to build new luxury hotels and entertainment centers.
- Riverboat casinos purchase over 70% of all goods and services from Louisiana vendors including computers, printing and floral arrangements.
MYTH #2: The introduction of riverboat gaming into a community causes an increase in crime.
FACT: There is no correlation between crime rates and riverboat casinos. In fact, studies have shown that the increased police protection afforded by the tax revenue generated by riverboat casinos often decreases crime.
One example is Bossier City where crime, according to police chief Danny Dison, has decreased 40% in the last three years.
Many cities that have introduced riverboat gaming have seen crime rates decrease in spite of thousands of new tourists, since local tax revenue has been used for enhanced police protection. This includes all of the Louisiana communities with riverboat gaming.
Sometimes when a new attraction is introduced in an area, crime may increase slightly, simply due to the fact that thousands more people are flooding into the area. Popular tourist destinations like Orlando, Florida, and Branson, Missouri, experienced increases in crime when Disney World and music theaters opened.
MYTH #3: Society as a whole suffers when gambling is introduced.
FACT: Casino employment has meant a better life for more than 15,000 employees and their families, who earn an average salary of $25,001 plus full health benefits.
Casino employment has meant a better life for more than 15,000 employees and their families, who earn an average salary of $22,000 and receive full health benefits.
Twenty percent of riverboat casino employees have been able to end their dependence on some form of government assistance as a result of their employment.
With dependable and competitive salaries, employees have bought new homes, cars and appliances, causing an economic ripple effect throughout a community.
Through payment of over $2.02 billion in state and local taxes, the riverboat casino industry has helped cities and towns upgrade infrastructure, improve city services such as police and fire protection, offer new programs and generally increase the quality of life for all. More importantly, through the payment of gaming taxes, all of these benefits have been made possible without increasing the tax burden on the citizens of Louisiana.
MYTH #4: Access to riverboat gaming increases gambling addiction and leads to a high rate of bankruptcy.
FACT: The vast majority of Americans gamble responsibly with little or no adverse consequences according to a new study by the National Gaming Impact Study Commission (NGISC) released in June 1999.
The study confirmed that the cost to society from problem and pathological gambling has been grossly over estimated by opponents. The commission studies found that in any given year less than 1% of all adults in the United States could be described as pathological gamblers. Typically, gambling options other than riverboat casinos are the choice of pathological gamblers.FACT: The U.S. Treasury Department recently released a study entitled A Study of the Interaction of Gambling and Bankruptcy. This study has found no connection between gambling and bankruptcy. The study makes the following conclusions:
- Using state-level data, we find no connection between state bankruptcy rates and either the extent of or introduction of casino gambling. This result is supported by county-level analysis that shows no statistically significant casino effect (proximity to a casino) with regard to county bankruptcy rates.
- An empirical analysis of bankruptcy data suggest(s) that gambling has no measurable effect on statewide bankruptcy rates in Nevada, New Jersey or Mississippi.
- While most available studies have pointed to a connection between gambling and bankruptcy, none has proven that gambling causes bankruptcy.
- These findings support the research findings of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC).
MYTH #5: Riverboat gaming is controlled by organized crime.
FACT: Gaming companies may be the most tightly controlled and regulated of any industry. Nearly all are publicly traded companies owned by stockholders, much like IBM, General Motors and Kraft. Therefore, these companies are not only bound by state and federal gaming laws, they are also regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission. There have been no accounting scandals at gaming companies such as the ones associated with Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing.