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City Hall Wins at Slots, Revises City Budget

slotsAbandoning claims that a steady stream of red light runners will fund the hiring of 20 new police officers once surveillance cameras are installed at 50 city intersections, city officials now say that a windfall from the Seneca Casino will pay for the new hires.

The Buffalo News reports that $2.5 million—twice as much as was expected from Albany—will be coming to the city, based on receipts from the small blue building on sovereign Seneca territory in the cobblestone district.

One can only hope the new cops will be enough to cope with the increased crime that comes to places with casinos, as described in this May 2006 report in the Washington Post. Columnist Richard Morin writes, “Crime began to rise after the first year, slowly at first and then more quickly, until it had far surpassed what it would have been if the casino had never opened. By the fifth year of operation, robberies were up 136 percent; aggravated assaults, 91 percent; auto theft, 78 percent; burglary, 50 percent; larceny, 38 percent; and rape, 21 percent. Controlling for other factors, 8.6 percent of property crimes and 12.6 percent of violent crimes were attributed to casinos.”

Here is some interesting research by Earl L. Grinols, Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois, and University of Georgia Economist David B. Mustard, whose work is referred to in the Post column.

Some may see this as a wise use of an unpredicted windfall, but I say it’s time to parlay. Why quit when you’re on a roll with Albany? Just think of all the improvements that could come to the city if the mayor were to take the extra $1.25 million he wasn’t even counting on, and put it all into tickets for the Mega Millions! It only takes a dollar and a dream.

  • AICPplanner

    Give me a break. The steel shack has been there for over a year. Where are the local crime statistics, specifically those linked to the immediate casino property. I’ve seen no evidence of any spike in crime around the casino (shack).

    The only crime is that the development of the perminant casino was stalled by limo liberals and other stuffed shirts from Buffalo’s Wendt Foundation. Despite this thugish move the Foundation has NOT replaced the 1000+ lost jobs due to its hate of the poor. The Foundation has also NOT provided relief to the 1000+ aditional poor families it has created. If fact, Wendt Foundation charitable giving is down since it has gone to war with the casino.

    The sum result, 1000 fewer jobs, 1000 more families NOT helped by the Wendt Foundation, a handful of lawyers rich, another economic development project stalled, and still a tiny tin shack that adds $2.5 million to the City (and reduces local property taxes by as much) with NO negative side effects.

    Sad, but true, the Wendt Foundation has crushed the economy in Buffalo. $2.5 million could have been $20 million – $30 million and spillovers from 1000 more families with breadwinners.

    Thank the Wendt Foundation the next time you are a victim of crime in Buffalo. The Foundation keeps people poor and desperate.

  • The Senecas stopped construction of the casino downtown. Also, the $2.5 million could still be $20-$30 million or more, depending how lucky we get in the lottery.

    If we’re going to support gambling by retirees on fixed incomes, why not support gambling by our elected officials? Just send someone from city hall over to Wilson Farms to buy 2,500,000 tickets.

    And keep doing it every year until we hit a winner.

  • JustCurious

    Reading this one day after I got pulled over ticketed by one of a gaggle of cops sitting in a parking lot waiting to catch people between 6:30 and 6:59 making left turns at an intersection where it’s illegal to do so between the hours of 4 and 7, I can’t help but wonder -why- we’re hiring new officers. Why don’t we make the ones already on duty -actually- fight crime?

  • HateDemInjuins

    Hey Buck…..

    ….just wondering why it took other people’s blogs and a small piece in The Buffalo SNews to bring to light that The Wendt Foundation possessed sizable stock holdings in Harrah’s Entertainment (one of the five largest casino conglomerates) but The Foundation kept on spewing that “…we are opposed to ALL forms of gambling…..” BEFORE it was publicly known that they help Harrah’s stock…

    Never heard a peep from Bruce “Plexiglass” Jackson about that one……

    Sounds a bit racist, if ya ask me. Gambling’s cool, according to The Wendt Foundation (well, cool enough to bankroll it with stock purchases)….as long as it isn’t done by a minority in your backyard.