Indian Casino  =  Bad Medicine

An optimized artist rendition of the Los Coyote Band's proposed Barstow casino and hotel.

The flip side of a Barstow casino.


July 19, 2014

    According to Barstow city officials, the proposed new casino is coming closer to reality.  The city residents appear to be overly supportive of the casino project, believing that it will bring lucrative jobs and prosperity to Barstow.  The reality is, casinos are double-edged swords.

    A casino in Barstow is bad medicine as a remedy for the joblessness as the benefits will likely be outweighed by the negatives demonstrated by casinos elsewhere.

    Despite all the promises given during the permitting process, the reality will likely be that only a small percentage of Barstow residents will acquire the low paying, dead-end casino jobs.  If this casino operates like many other Indian casinos, non-tribal employees will have few employee rights as the casino will operate upon tribal land.  If a non-tribal employee has a justified grievance against the casino or hotel, without a hearing, the controlling Tribal Council will encourage that employee to promptly leave.  Tribal justice takes precedence.

    Hardest hit will be the citizens of Barstow, nearly half of whom are on some form of government aid.  Casinos zero-in on the poor and make much of their profit from their thousands of slot machines that are promoted to, and favored by, the economically challenged.

    Slot machines are designed for quick and repeated betting; tapping into the hopes and gaming addiction of many people with limited funds and their distorted belief that their only road to a better life is a matter of luck.

    The promoters are banking that the casino's proposed location, immediately before the northbound fork in Interstate-15 leading to Las Vegas and Laughlin will catch gamblers before they reach those destinations.  The reality is, it will catch a few, but it won't slow most headed for the glamorous lights and shows of Las Vegas or the river oasis.  The principle gamblers that the new casino will draw will be the locals from the High Desert.

    Those sitting on the Barstow City Council who have businesses in Barstow should financially benefit, as well as the casino's nearby businesses.

    The city will receive a small chunk of the cash flow as taxes; but the losers will be the community's fabric and its citizens.  Too many of whom will follow the pattern elsewhere where local citizens in poverty are caught into the Escapism and the frenzy of the casino's lure of Lady Luck's fast riches, that vails the reality of yet deeper poverty.

    City officials may claim that the taxes they collect from gambling will help their local citizens; but taking tax money from community losses inflames family financial stresses and adds to family break-ups, greater police activity, and death and carnage upon our highways that casino liquor stimulates.

    Barstow's new casino will disproportionately victimize the financially challenged citizens and it is not an appropriate community building block that a city council should seek for a city with such high numbers balancing their existence on government support.  There are better employers.  Council self greed appears to be an element of this development.

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