Everybody is so excited! The announcement by Penn National Gaming that- if the state allows video slot machines- and ignores the 50-mile limit on racetracks- that they will bring the ponies to the corner of Needmore and Webster is a major “economic development” coup.
But it’s not.
Jobs at racetracks and casinos aren’t the answer to Dayton’s problems. And although this is one of the few developments that makes sense right over the well field- this is yet another project that has no synergy. Like the ballfield- built away from the bars on Fifth Street, the Schuster built away from the convention center and the restaurants on Fifth Street, like UD Arena- built in the middle of nowhere – but at least on an exit from I-75. Once again, we’re building a golf course where the tees and the greens aren’t in logical consecutive order.
Are there better locations for a Racino in Dayton? Is there a better location for the Fairgrounds? How would this track work over on the old McCall Printing site off 35W, or down at the old GM Plant off Edwin C. Moses?
The North East quadrant of Dayton has seen little recent development- and with the oddity of Harrison Township still there (for no good reason) are we about to build another entertainment island?
The whole idea of putting the locations for the casinos into the Ohio Constitution was stupid, and now, this slot machine paradise plus ponies is just one more odd idea of how to handle gambling. Why video slots instead of just poker rooms? Why is horse racing OK- but baccarat is bad?
It’s time to deregulate the gaming industry- and let free markets take the premium of scarcity out of the picture. Then maybe we’ll see things go in the right places- and the wrong ones will fail through market forces.
The only gaming we’ve had in Ohio is by the politicians- who keep coming up with these limitations that end up messing up more than they help, but, then again- most of the time, government isn’t the answer when it comes to “economic development.”