Casino gambling is a single-destination activity, which succeeds only by keeping its guests at the casino. Casinos are a drain on local businesses, directly competing with them by discounting their hotel rooms, entertainment, and amenities, drawing customers away from downtown Saratoga Springs. The projected tax-revenue benefits are guesswork and when gambling revenues decline, it is the taxpayers who are burdened–with lower property values and higher rates of real estate foreclosures. Critical and already overburdened local services, such as police, fire, and hospital services, will become further stretched.
The social costs of full casino gambling are potentially significant as well. Gambling is a regressive tax, exacting its profits from those who are least able to absorb financial losses. This can result in spikes in poverty rates, unemployment rates, and crime.
The projected benefits of full casino gambling have yet to be convincingly documented. We are concerned that the promise of a windfall for host communities will not be realized, especially in light of plummeting revenues at casinos across the country. Meaningful guarantees and demonstrated long-term value are lacking. SAVE Saratoga contends that the revenues will never outweigh the costs, and this is a risk our community will not take.