The numbers are in for September 2018, and the scary “slotsification” process continues:
For the eight months since the first anniversary of Rivers Casino at Mohawk Harbor, all of the increased gambling revenue over the same 8 months of operation in 2017 has been produced by Slots/ETG revenues. Slots/ETG gambling is up significantly, while both Table Game and Poker Table revenues are down.
Here are the totals for February through September 2017 and February through September 2018 (compiled using figures from the Rivers Casino Weekly Website Report):
Slots are the most addictive form of casino gambling, and draw many of the most vulnerable members of our community. If the County and City of Schenectady are receiving more gaming tax revenues from the State because of the “improved” revenues during its second year of operation, those added receipts are coming from Slots Players alone. As we like to say around here, Grandma and Aunt Tillie are paying for your (measely) property tax reductions related to Rivers Casino.
- “Slot Machines Are Designed to Addict” (New York Times, October 10, 2013, by Natasha Dow Schüll).
A few thoughts on what Rivers is doing for Schenectady:
- Non-Gambling Revenues. Rivers Casino is attracting large crowds for many events, with the Mohawk Harbor Marina and other amenities, and the Landing Hotel. But, those customers are earning money for Rivers Casino and Mohawk Harbor’s owners and tenants that is taxed locally — sales, food and drink, room occupancy, etc. — at a far lower level than gambling revenue. All the publicity and boosterism Rivers Casino and Mohawk Harbor garner from our business and development “leaders”, and our Convention and Tourism Bureau, is profiting Rush Street Gaming, Galesi Group, and their associated businesses, far more than local property tax payers.
- Substitution/Cannibalization Effect.Non-gambling revenues at Mohawk Harbor are clearly taking dollars from other local businesses in the entertainment and leisure markets, surely leading to job reductions and business closing. [see a Casinos are Good for Business Poster used in Ontario, Canada]
- Problem Gambling Prevention. The County and City are still not acting to help reduce the incidence of Problem Gambling through Education that prevents gambling disorders by helping to make gambling a safe, occasional leisure activity, not an obsession or addiction. If Rivers Casino and soon Sports Betting are here to stay, we must educate our youth, and help adults learn to recognize the signs of problem gambling in themselves, their friends and loved ones, their employees, and co-workers. [More information on Prevention, here.]
- More Information Needed. When will our local media companies start demanding numbers from the County and City on things such as the effects on other local businesses; the number of Schenectady residents getting jobs at Rivers Casino, and the kinds of jobs; and extra expenses paid for by City and County and State taxpayers that should be paid for by Rivers Casino and the Galesi Group.