The attempt by the state government to locate a casino in Nassau County has run into resistance from local citizens and some political leadership in our towns and villages. The decision not to place a casino at Fortunoff’s was a wise one. One wonders why a casino is so necessary for Long Island and why the governor seems so intent on this.
The Long Island Association (LIA) among others has pointed out that taxpayers on Long Island contribute significantly more money to the state coffers than the two counties receive in return. While there is no obligation that there be an equivalence between those two figures, it does add an element to the discussion, “Why do we need a casino whose main reason for existence is to put more money into government hands for whatever projects the politicians wish to favor.”
In itself there is nothing wrong with gambling and games of chance. There are, however, serious reasons why the rush to open up casinos deserves to be given serious thought, taking into account the various positions of those who will be affected by their operation.
Classically the Catholic Church, which is not stranger to gambling, has cautioned that gambling casinos often attract an element that can lead to crime and associated negative social conditions. The Church has raised the issue of the negative effect casinos can have ensnaring the poor into habits that will lead them to be disproportionately hurt economically. The placement of these casinos in neighborhoods or near places where many citizens, especially young people, congregate adds another potential negative that can degrade social mores and harm individuals.
Granted that gambling is not intrinsically immoral, one still can argue that it is not the best way for government to raise money, that casinos can become settings for associated crimes to grow and even flourish and that people, especially the poor and youth, can easily become victimized.
It may be just my opinion but I am convinced that our towns and villages across Long island can do rather well without the hazards of this kind of government fundraising. At the end of the day, who really needs casinos on Long Island?