Casino would revitalize Cape

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I would like to comment on the two June 10 guest columns in the Southeast Missourian.

The first was by Greg Sparkman. It seems that Mr. Sparkman is caught up in the environment in which he now finds himself. It is normal for convicts to rationalize being in prison and blaming outside forces for putting them there. In reality, it is they themselves who made poor choices, and they can't blame society for that. Mr. Sparkman says "gambling can steal your soul." But so will excesses of any kind, like alcohol and drugs.

The second column was by Hubert D. Murphy. Mr. Murphy says "the state will be the big loser, and harm will be brought to many." If the state will be such a loser, why does it continue to license more casinos?

Murphy states casino profits will leave the community. Where does he think the profits of the cement plant, P&G, Kohl's, Macy's, Outback, Logan's, J.C. Penney, Target and all the national chains serving Cape Girardeau go? They go to the corporate headquarters of the companies making the investment in any community.

Businesses and industries make a large footprint on the community by buying or leasing land and building stores, offices and manufacturing plants. They employ people, pay taxes, hire services, give to charities and generate support services.

One potential gaming group estimates over 500 people will be employed at salaries from $27,000 to $42,000 a year. An average of $32,000 equates to over $16 million in annual payroll. How many existing operations employ over 500 and have that annual payroll? Not many.

Cape Girardeau needs to be a recreational destination site. Other than medical services and education, what else would draw people here?

Gaming is all around us. You can buy scratch-off tickets in numerous forms at numerous locations as well as state lottery tickets. And don't forget bingo, which you can play six nights a week.

If you put up your money on dice, cards, slots or bingo with the chance of winning more money, it's gambling. So let's call a spade a spade.

If the casino comes to Cape Girardeau, you will not see any vacant storefronts in the community, because it will revitalize downtown and the Broadway corridor.

J.F. Gambill is the former plant manager of Marquette Cement, the former plant manager of BioKyowa and a former Cape Girardeau County commissioner.

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