Ithaca Blog

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tompkins County Passes On Gambling (But Loses)

New Yorkers voted overwhelmingly last Tuesday to expand casino gambling in the state. Tompkins County provided a notable exception, with the largest number of "no" votes of any county. (A few western New York counties had slightly higher percentages of "no" votes, but among much smaller populations.)

Tompkins County seems to have taken a long view towards the proposal, that while casinos will provide jobs, they are not stable. Casinos in Atlantic City have lost almost half their revenue in recent years, and when casinos fail, there is blight.

Sullivan County, in the Catskills, had the highest percentage of votes in favor. At least one major casino will be built there, a place of desperate unemployment. Tompkins County, conversely, has the lowest unemployment rate in the state year after year.

That's because we have colleges. Colleges are a little like casinos, in that people come from away to leave a lot of money there, and drink too much. That's the end of the flippant comparison, except to note that colleges rarely fail as businesses, create good jobs, and provide something of value. We suppose that's what Tompkins County voters were trying to advocate, in rejecting gambling as an economic path.

No comments: