More and more states are betting on casinos to drive up business and tourism, and the Rust Belt's no exception. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and now Ohio have gotten on board with what backers say is a massive cash cow for hard-luck communities. As Ideastream's Brian Bull reports, there's much to be excited…and a little concerned about…
The Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland is one of four being built in Ohio. They're expected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Last month, part of the Horseshoe's parking garage collapsed under wet concrete. But Chris Warren has a lucky feeling about the casino. He's the city's Chief of Regional Development.
"It's fair to say that on an annual basis that there will be millions of dollars of new property, income, and parking taxes flowing to the City of Cleveland, and that's good."
Warren says up to 15 million people a year will visit the Horseshoe. He expects annual revenues up to $30 million.
Marcus Glover, the casino's general manager, says local businesses and attractions will cash in, too.
"We'll spend a lot of time positioning the property of Horseshoe Cleveland. It's, "Come to Cleveland and go the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. Come to Cleveland and go to Playhouse Square. And oh, while you're here, we hope you pay us a visit."
But critics say casinos can short-change communities. Professor John Kindt of the University of Illinois-Champaign researches casino development. He's concerned by the Horseshoe Casino's 2,000 slot machines. He says each one will take in at least $100,000 dollars a year.
"Now that's money that's not going to buy cars, refrigerators, computers, and even food and clothing," says Kindt.
Meanwhile, critics say that as more and more states build casinos, their purported benefits to tourism may no longer stay on the table, as locals - not out-of-state visitors - will become the primary players.