DETROIT (WWJ) Voters approved casino gaming in Detroit 20 years ago, so to discuss its impact on the city’s economy, there will be a round table talk at 10 a.m. Wednesday at MGM Grand.
What have the money makers really meant for Detroit? Not everyone is a fan.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Is Another Relief Payment Coming Soon?
“Bust,” Laura Eggleson of Detroit told WWJ 950’s Sandra McNeill when she hit the streets to ask Detroiters if the casinos are a good addition to the city. “Because people in Detroit are already struggling as it is. The casinos are just … I just don’t see how they helped us as a community.”
Lisa Rally had a different perspective, saying she loves to visit MGM Grand. But is it actually good for the city? “I think I’m on the fence with that one,” Rally said.
Many Detroiters interviewed by McNeill said they were torn because they have family and friends who have struggled with gambling addiction issues. “I’m sure it’s been a boon for the owners, that’s about all I can say,” Pat O’Dowd said.
Leslie Cortez of Warren praised the casinos because they’ve brought “jobs, union jobs to the city.”
But how to keep them thriving and contributing to Detroit’s rebirth?
In looking at how the industry can create more revenue, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association Geoff Freeman believes sports gambling should be legalized nationwide.READ MORE: Despite Chip Shortage, GM Posts $2.8B Profit, Ups Guidance
Freeman believes the federal law that basically bans gambling outside of Nevada is flawed.
“It’s time to repeal that law,it’s time to empower states to offer that produce if they so choose,” he said.
He sees it as an opportunity for growth here in Michigan.
With the casinos bringing in an estimated 16 percent of Detroit’s budget, Freeman said it’s time to focus on the future and answer questions like: “How do we grow this business and strengthen our commitment to Detroit.”
So does the city need more casinos?
“I don’t think it’s a question of more casinos,” he said. “I think it’s a question of the industry evolve to meet the changing interest of tomorrow’s customer. You have to adapt.We need to be asking the question and Michigan needs to be asking the question ‘What’s going to work tomorrow.'”MORE NEWS: Duggan, Adams Advance From Detroit Mayoral Primary
Freeman says that’s a way to add revenue to the city’s budget without increasing the number of casinos.