Finding a good economic engine for Hardeeville would be great, but the proposed Hilton Head Lakes casino is not it.
Just as all gambling syndicate projects are deceptively marketed to a naive public, this one is being hustled as the grand solution to all our economic woes.
Profits that would come to gambling powers, the Oklahoma Indians and landowners from Myrtle Beach would certainly be gargantuan. National casino profits actually reported now exceed $30 billion annually. A U.S. 278 casino and hospitality operations would indeed generate tax revenues and permanent jobs, even if primarily to those who already work on Hilton Head and in Beaufort. But public costs for obscene private profits, most of which stay nowhere near the local economy, should be seen for what they are -- wrong and unaffordable.
The social costs of fanning existing gambling passions by adding a casino are well-documented and ugly. Crime within 30-miles around Atlantic City increased 100 percent after casinos came, and with them also came significant growth in addictions and related increases in divorce, bankruptcy and suicides.
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Subsequently, casino proponents in Ohio proposed setting aside 1 percent of their profits to fund public services dealing with gambling related issues. But independent university studies showed that the cost of such public services, to even partially offset the social consequences of a casino, would require at least 33 percent of projected gambling profits.
The casino proposal is a bad idea, bad for our families and the family orientation of our tourism economy. Hardeeville and the Lowcountry deserve better.
Hilton Head Island