The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Lonnie Leslie
Guest columnist 

Costs of racino won't be worth the gains

 

October 3, 2018



Along the four highways entering Clovis, signs announce “Clovis: A community for family.”

I spent 33 years with the Clovis schools as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent trying to assure that Clovis was a good place for families. I continue to support that effort as chairman of the Plains Regional Medical Center hospital board and the Curry County DWI Task Force.

The possible construction of a racino has lead to the question: “Will the costs to families be worth the financial gain to the community?”

Without question, Clovis and the surrounding communities need a positive economic impact. The Vision 2020 organizers endorse the economic benefits and the horse racing but virtually ignore the social impacts and the casino.

At a presentation by Full House Resorts, those in attendance were told that horse racing loses money and the losses are covered by profits from slot machines in the casino. The only gambling that will be allowed in the Clovis casino would be slots.

Those present were also told that today’s slot machines are sophisticated networked computers costing $25,000 each and are programed to analyze a player’s gambling habit and entice more plays. This technology has elevated slot machines to be the most addictive type of gambling.

Presentations by racino applicants also estimated gross revenue between $70 million and $100 million with 30 percent coming from the local communities. That equates to $20 million to $30 million leaving our community that would normally be spent by local families to buy food, housing, utilities, clothing, health care, cars, etc.

The state takes 26 percent of the gross gambling revenue with the city only receiving tax revenue from food, beverage and gross receipts on construction.

A racino/casino’s lifeblood is the gambling addict. Vision 2020 is reporting that 1 percent of the adult population are pathological gamblers. Studies in states that have recently legalized gambling report 3 percent to 7 percent of the state’s adults are problem gamblers since legalization.

These numbers would equate to 500 pathological gamblers and up to 3,500 problem gamblers in the Clovis and Portales area.

Gambling takes a toll not only on the gambler but also on entire families and creates huge costly social ills. Will our community still be a “Community for Family,” if a racino is built in Clovis?

I say, RaciNO.

Please look past the glitter and join other concerned citizens at 3:15 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center wearing your red, white, or blue.

Contact Lonnie Leslie at: leslie@district5520.com

 
 

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