2014-04-10 / Opinion

Casino is Unsound Economic Option

To the Editor:

They're BAAACK! We're not surprised but we certainly are very disappointed that some people are still working to have a full-fledged casino in Newport in spite of the repeated votes by Newport citizens against such an unwanted venture. It's not a question of "a best of three series." For us, "It's really one and out." Losers of previous referenda need only win once and table games will be introduced forever. Opponents of the expansion of gambling like Citizens Concerned About Casino Gambling have to win over and over again. It's just not fair. State officials repeat the mantra "Let the people decide." What they really mean is "Let the people decide again and again until they finally agree with us and allow a full-fledged casino at Newport Grand." If that happens, Newporters will have given the legislature carte blanche to do whatever it wants at Newport Grand.

The current owners and proposed buyers may well promise not to move the location of Newport Grand but it's hard to imagine that future owners will not find a way to move the location if they so choose. However, the location of Newport Grand is not our only concern.

We just believe that more responsible economic development such as the North End plan and the "Innovation Hub" will be far better paths to a healthy and sound Newport economy than a casino.

The legislature is far more concerned with raising revenue than it is with preserving the cultural heritage of Newport. We can just imagine the horror of seeing CASINO and SLOTS as the first thing visitors see when entering Newport, rather than the already offensive SLOTS sign.

Is that the best we have to offer to the wider community? The recent panel discussion at Salve Regina University on gambling addictions is just one of many reminders of how destructive, compulsive, and addictive gambling can be to honest, but fragile citizens of our community. The panel also pointed out that addiction rates are much higher in the area directly surrounding a casino. We invite citizens to join us in the continual effort to develop the economy and the treasures of Newport in a fashion more in keeping with our historic and beautiful city. For more information, please consult our website, nocasinori.com. Father Gene McKenna, President Citizens Concerned About Casino

Gambling, Newport

Wakefield

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