Daily Archives: August 13, 2008

The loss limit does not cost jobs and removing it cannot save them

Last week the Secretary of State certified the initiative petition that seeks to remove the $500 loss limit and it will appear on the November ballot.  The Coalition behind the petition should be called the Casinos First Coalition as the funding for the initiative is coming from one source and one source only – Missouri casino companies.

The Casinos First Coalition claims that by removing the $500 loss limit voters will be protecting Missouri jobs but this claim is unfounded and Missouri voters wont be fooled.  The Casino First Coalition would like you to believe that because Kansas will be adding casinos and the Kansas City market may lose market share, the loss limit should be removed as a way to keep people gambling in Missouri thus protecting Missouri jobs.  The unfortunate truth is that the least important factor in determining where someone will gamble is loss limits.  The Missouri Gaming Commission’s Market Survey conducted by the University of Missouri St. Louis found that people choose gambling facilities based on proximity, the quality of the restaurants and facilities and the number of slot machines. It’s estimated that it will be at least 2 years until Kansas even comes online with casinos, but when it happens a lot of people will frequent those establishments over Missouri casinos and it will be because of how close they are to the casinos are not because of the loss limit.

Rick Alm of the Kansas City Star’s Lucky Numbers blog provides further proof that alternate causes are resulting in job loss not the loss limit:

Executives at Las Vegas-based Ameristar Casinos Inc. disclosed Monday that 244 employees have been terminated from the company’s eight U.S. casinos, including 31 in Kansas City.

“Regrettably, we have reduced our workforce as the economic downturn is more prolonged than many economists expected,” Ameristar chief executive vice chairman Gordon Kanofsky said in a prepared statement issued late Monday.

The job loss that could be experienced because of Kansas casinos will be the result of market forces and those forces are not being impacted by the loss limit – they are being influenced by the economy and the factors mentioned in the Market Survey.  In fact, the Survey went on to explain that 96% of those who gamble don’t plan to spend more than $500 gambling anyways.  For a complete break down of just how competitive Missouri casinos have been with a loss limit, please view our policy brief entitled “Missouri’s Competitive Outlook:  Is the loss limit hurting casinos?

Its clear that the loss limit is not hurting competition and that the loss limit has not and will not be responsible for any potential future job loss.  This argument is simply intended to scare people into believing that the very loss limit that has been around for 13 years not causing job loss will suddenly be both a reason for and a solution to future job loss.  Missouri voters will not be fooled by such red herrings.

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Casino funded Loss Limit initiative may appear on November ballot

Last Tuesday, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan certified a casino industry-backed initiative petition that would eliminate the $500 loss limit and raise casino taxes by one percent. In addition, this casino initiative which has been titled the “Yes for Schools First” initiative eliminates the mandatory checking of identification.

Casino Watch Executive Director, Evelio Silvera was quoted in the Kansas City Star about the ballot intiative:

“We’re looking forward to educating people on exactly what the consequences of passing this are,” said Evelio Silvera, executive director of the St. Louis-based Casino Watch citizens group, citing problem gamblers as one group that could be victimized by looser rules.

Silvera said some law enforcement agencies also could line up against the measure, because it would make it more difficult to identify gamblers, especially those who have been banned from the casino for criminal activity or have self-banned themselves to control their gambling habit.

The Gaming Commission last year sought unsuccessfully to toughen identification rules through the use of biometrics or fingerprinting.

Silvera on Tuesday said his group is encouraged by a Missouri Gaming Commission survey earlier this year that found more than 60 percent of those surveyed favored the loss limit versus about 25 percent who were opposed to its use in the state’s casino.

“I feel very confident that the gaming commission’s survey showed some attitude advantages for us,” he said.

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Related stories:

Yes for Casinos First!

The laughable idea of a casino spending $8 million in an effort to “help schools”


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