I've been talking to people about the new casino in Summit Township, Presque Isle Downs. As you might imagine, some people think it's a good thing, some think it's bad, and others are indifferent.
Those who support the project cite jobs and tax revenue. And although they are skeptical about the promise of Property Tax Reform (meaning that your property taxes will go away and be paid for by the slots), they believe that county-funded projects like the Zoo and the County Library System will now be able to avoid their annual funding crises.
Those who do not like the casino cite social problems. People told me that gambling "attracts the wrong crowd to Erie County" and will create additional strain on social service agencies (presumably, because gambling creates debt and debt can destroy families). In addition, debt also leads to the lending of money which quite often cannot be paid back, and this leads to Draconian Debt Collection, if you get my drift.
Those who are indifferent tend to see both sides of the issue. They agree that revenue generation is necessary; however, they're not sure that a casino is the best way to generate jobs and tax revenue.
Interestingly, the seniors I spoke with are more likely to visit the casino than people in other age groups. They said they like to play the slots because it's fun, safe, and potentially profitable...and now they won't have to travel to Salamanca or Canada to play the slots.
Personally, it seems to me that there is so much to do in this world: Helping people learn to read and write, feeding the hungry, volunteering for various local projects...making Erie a better place to live, that it seems odd that so many people have time to sit on a stool and play slots. But it's back to Bread and Circus, I guess. As long as the masses are fed and entertained, then all is well in the U.S. of A.