Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 10/27/2009 - 18:10.

“Today, Atlantic City, in the eyes of one gambling executive, Tim Wilmott, is in a ‘death spiral,’” that’s the tone of a Sunday New York Times piece on the financial troubles of the city’s casinos.


“Rows of slot machines stand eerily empty,” says the story while hotel rooms are empty. Many casinos have experienced double digit revenue drops, the report said.


The article is far from a hatchet job. However, it does have a cautionary message to Cleveland and other Ohio cities where casinos would go if Issue 3 is passed.


Cleveland will be rolling the dice next Tuesday when voters go into the booths to cast a vote that would give a billionaire a monopoly board contract for a Cleveland casino.


“The economic slowdown has shown that the gambling industry is not quite as recession-proof as was so long believed,” it said of Atlantic City.


And you might like to remember as you go into that booth the promise of Atlantic City’s gambling sales people:


“Billed as a ‘great experiment’ in urban redevelopment, legalized gambling was pitched to voters as an effort to reverse Atlantic City’s long decline…”


Sound familiar?


Over-expansion of gambling opportunities, along with bad economic times, has taken its toll on the business. Just as there are too many shopping centers there are too many gambling spots.


“Retirees who once hopped on buses to Atlantic City to play slots for a few hours can now happily play much closer to home – in eastern Pennsylvania or the New York Metro area, for example,” said the article.


Another problem mentioned: Debt.  Interest payments have been missed and the inability to raise money for newer casinos.


And crime.


The article also cites arguments about how casino taxes are being used and who gets the benefit.


Here’s a link to the long article:


Finally, “However well intentioned these efforts, some industry analyst have a tough time imagining just what Atlantic City or its casino operators can do to pull the town out of its rut.”


I guess I view a Dan Gilbert casino as an invitation to crime, an invitation to more government subsidies for roads, a hotel and other infrastructure needs, and an invite to politicians to find new avenues of helping their friends.


Don’t gamble on gambling.




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while hotel rooms are empty

“Rows of slot machines stand eerily empty,” says the story while hotel rooms are empty."

Dude's - it's sooooo over. I don't' get it. Why are Cleveland people still buying the service industry as an economic development idea? That idea's time came and went. 

I came here from Florida. What Florida natives see that tourists don't is the constant flipping of hotels, restaurants, theme parks (not multinational Disney of course), etc. The stuff people come to see and do when they visit is always attracting wannabes and quickly spitting them out like so much seaweed washed up on the shore to be picked over by seagulls. It doesn't last. It ruins people. Thinking that Cleveland, with a dirty river and lake, polluted soil and air can become a destination is ridiculous. No restaurant is that good - no hotel is that fancy - no casino that sparkly, certainly not here.

Medical Mart for bellhops and bus boys, big port for all the container ships - phooey! Casinos in Detroit - ghost towns. Greektown in Detroit - bankrupt. Cleveland has what it need right here - many many cottage industries longing to start up. You know all those grandmas that know stuff like irish lacemaking, strudel makers, sausage makers, cheese makers, bread bakers, musical instrument makers and repairers, cobblers, seamstresses, tailors, growers, canners, machinists. We have the old world skills, but they are being shunted into nursing homes instead of passing these unique old world skills into the hands of our young people. Why? Because we didn't get the memo about EDUCATION. And I am not talking about just nanotechnology school. There are many ways we learn and many skills which are necessary for a fruitful fulfilling life. Food, clothing, shelter and how to make a home and keep a hearth have escaped us. We want someone else to do it for us. But even with small Mom and Pop shops, someone has to have the know how, the skill - someone has to help me fix my mower, my roof, my plumbing. This jobs are not going to China and no one is going to come here from NYC to get those services, but Clevelanders need them. Towns in Florida - hard to find a tailor, a cobbler, a furniture refinisher, someone who knows how to cane a seat or rebuild that old car. Everybody's here today and gone tomorrow. And look at Florida now - it's a stopover, a pass-through and not that many people are going anywhere anymore. They're busy paying their overdraft fees and wondering if they'll have a home to come home to.

Hotels and hot dogs on the sidewalk are not what makes Cleveland, Cleveland. You know that video hastily made about Cleveland? This one. Now that it is in Michael Moore's film Capitalism: A Love Story, I doubt that too many people will be coming here for a fun time at the Rock Hall or to watch the Browns lose in a snow storm, even if they can see that latest medical gadget.

"The U.S. hotel industry reported decreases in all three key metrics for third quarter 2009 in year-over-year measurements, according to data from STR."

Keep calling it a recession if you want to. But don't think that filling hotel room is gonna help Cleveland's economy improve. You gotta clean that hotel room - really clean it before anyone would pay to sleep there no matter how much money they could lose at the craps table. We've got bingo and the lottery. Be happy with that.