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
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