Gambling With Other People's Money

Fester takes a big swing at the Harrah's casino numbers (hint: they don't add up), but the game is fixed, in a manner of speaking.

Slots are coming to Pittsburgh. That's a done deal. The only question is where the casino goes. Wherever it goes, the proposition that the casino will be some kind of spur to broader economic development is laughable. The numbers that Bill Toland is reporting on make that clear. If gamblers don't spend what Harrah's is counting on, the casino will fail, sucking the life out of its neighborhood. If gamblers do spend what Harrah's is counting on, the casino will thrive, suchking the life out of its neighborhood. How, exactly, is this a good thing?


3 Responses to "Gambling With Other People's Money"

Anonymous said... 3/09/2006 11:00 PM

Why are we only talking about funding arena? Why not something more meaninful like research or a tech park!!!

fester said... 3/10/2006 11:41 AM

The joys of local politics, especially in low turn-out elections is why we are talking about arenas and not other opportunities including what you mentioned and what I mentioned (securitizing $290 million from Isle of Capri to buy back and retire all PGH recallable debt to reduce future debt service costs) --- one of the traditional theories of local political economy is that most municipalities are highly influenced by developpers and construction trades due to their concentrated combined interests in building something new to create capturable wealth, and if there is an anti-development candidate, all their support which is fairly intense goes to the opponent. Combine this traditional political coalition with the intensity of a (smallish) crowd of Penguins fans versus the ambivilance among the city and regional populations towards a tech park, and that is your explanation.

Amos_thePokerCat said... 3/10/2006 8:18 PM

The only good thing about this is there will soon be table games, i.e. poker, in WVa.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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