City Hall Wins at Slots, Revises City Budget
by Buck Quigley - posted 11:53 am, May 15, 2009
Abandoning 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.