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Sunday, June 22, 2003

The Buffalo News reports today that opposition to a casino in downtown Buffalo, which would be run by the Seneca Nation of Indians, continues to mount. The proposed casino would theoretically generate something like 2000 new jobs, which is no small thing. But it's far from a given that the casino would do what it's promised to do: help rejuvenate downtown Buffalo by luring people there to gamble. I find it unlikely that people going down there to blow their money are likely to do much shopping or dining elsewhere, especially since casinos are invariably designed so that one does not have to leave the place. There's a reason why, when you enter a casino, you don't walk in the front door onto the gaming floor. This fact, coupled with the fact that the casino's revenues would be almost entirely pocketed by the Seneca Nation, makes me wonder just how much economic stimulus this thing can be likely to produce. And in a city where the ever-dwindling tax base is a big source of trouble, is it really a good idea to take a prime chunk of downtown real estate and remove it from the tax rolls, so the Senecas can have a casino?

And I note that public support for these "juggernaut" projects never seems to be that strong around here, and yet our politicos keep proposing them and they never seem to get defeated at the polls no matter how bad things get here. The City of Buffalo is about to have its finances taken over by a State Control Board, and yet, just last November, the Mayor of Buffalo was elected to a third term with no opposition. Oy!

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