The Wall Street Journal shone a light on casinos near colleges in an article published Monday, October 26, 2014. “Casinos Put Up Hands for Sites Near Colleges“, by Steven Vilensky (subscription required). The opening sentence warns that “Casino gambling may soon be added to the list of campus vices in New York, drawing anticipation from college students and concern from legislators and school officials.” Indeed, we’re told:
Nearly all of the 16 proposals currently being considered as New York state casino sites are within a 25-mile radius of a college or university. Three of the more-elaborate plans are located minutes from large schools.
Through dumb luck, I was able to pass through the WSJ subscription wall once and see more than the first three sentences. That was enough to read the entire article and conclude that (1) giving the college proximity issue national exposure is a very good thing; but, (2) reporter Vilensky needs a pedometer or a quick lesson in reading the legend on a map. In telling of the proposed casino closest to a college, Vilensky says the Schenectady casino would be “less than 3 miles from Union College and Schenectady County Community College.” I’m not sure how he was led astray. He did talk with someone from Rush Street Gaming, and maybe he also saw the Galesi brochure for Mohawk Harbor, which proclaims it to be “in the heart of downtown Schenectady,” and he got confused.
Hoping to correct the true-but-misleading “less than 3 miles” figure in time for the morning hardcopy version, I wrote Vilenski late Sunday night, saying: “The story is much more interesting and troublesome than you have presented in today’s WSJ article.” Naturally, I let him know that Union College’s largest residence hall is one block from the proposed casino, and the entire campus is four or five blocks away, while Schenectady Community College is one mile from the proposed site, Mohawk Harbor. [click on the map above]
The WSJ article also reports on the phenomenon of colleges starting to offer degrees or certificates in Gaming Management and related fields. It somehow missed the fact that Schenectady County Community College now has a casino management program as well as a partnering agreement with Rush Street Gaming.
Neither reporter Vilensky nor the WSJ Corrections staff added the proffered information to their online resources. For anyone Googling the issue after reading the WSJ piece, here are postings from Stop the Schenectady Casino on young gamblers and college kids and casinos:
- “what will the casino mean for Union College students?” and referenced materials;
- “Rush Street takes aim at adolescents” (Sept. 9, 2014), and
- our Sept. 22nd submission to the Location Board on the problem with having a casino so close to Union College