Addiction, Ground Rents, and Urban Casino Development
Casino development has become a favoured urban development strategy in a number of post-industrialising western economies (Hannigan, 2007). These developments are often justified on the basis that casinos attract reputedly rich and super-rich consumers from other places in what amounts to a rather convenient geographical transfer of value. These wealthy consumers, so the mercantilist argument goes, enrich both the casino owners and the broader public through taxes and license fees. Moreover, these gambling dollars are imported, while the effects and responsibility for problem gambling, one of the key arguments against gambling developments, are conveniently exported. A second argument, particularly favoured by the gambling industry and other casino proponents, is the creation of local jobs, both in construction and subsequent casino operations. For example, the Canadian casino operator Gateway Casino and Entertainment has organised its new casino proposal for London, Canada, around the creation of 700 local jobs. More generally, neoclassical economists suggest that casinos tend to increase economic growth in the longer-term (e.g. Walker, 2007). A third argument is that casinos bring a certain symbolic value to a city, particularly if they take the form of large towers such as Barangaroo, Sydney, or its proposed competitor in Star City Casino located across the harbour in Pyrmont.
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