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Friday, March 11, 2005

Casinos

Casino Gambling in Ohio
By: Jennifer Foster
It has been debated for a while whether Ohio should have casinos. Some argue that the state should not have casinos and others argue that it should. There are fourteen states that don’t offer gambling and Ohio is one of them. I feel that Ohio should adopt casino gambling because it leads to an increased local economy, increased economic development, increased revenue for the state, decreased unemployment, and casinos give the cities and state exposure.
Casinos can benefit a local economy in many ways. One benefit that stands out the most is that many casinos have funded projects for communities. In Gary, Indiana, the Majestic Star Casino has plans to “build a hotel, family resort, office complex, convention facilities, and dockside restaurants” (Henderson 10). This would contribute a lot to the community because the communities sometimes do not have resources to fund large projects. According to Paul Teske and Bela Sur, Atlantic City casinos funded a 688-unit rental apartment building and have plans to build another 300-unit apartment building (134). These projects give people more places to live, work, eat, and enjoy entertainment. A larger implication of casino development according to Teske and Sur is that the “suburbs will benefit from urban economic development even if the project or industry is located in the central city” (135).
Casinos lead the way for a local economy to become better along with generating economic development for communities. According to Paul Teske and Bela Sur, “casino gambling has stimulated one of the largest and quickest successes ever in the history of economic development” (130). Communities will receive many direct benefits from casinos as stated by Brad Knickerbocker (2).
The goal for many towns is to attract companies. But businesses don’t want to bring their company to town if there is not anything in the town to attract business. If a casino is in place, there is already a guarantee that people will be coming to town: “casinos [act] as anchors to attract other development” (Henderson 10). Therefore, casinos will benefit the state of Ohio by potentially bringing other businesses to the state.
Another reason that Ohio should allow casino gambling is that it would increase revenue for the state and it’s communities. In Gary, Indiana, “roughly $30 million of the city’s $100 million annual budget comes from casino revenues” (Henderson 9). That is almost one-third of their budget. Revenues like this could allow the state of Ohio to possibly reduce taxes and allocate funds, which were previously cut. Casinos are required to pay taxes every year; to establish the casino, the developer must pay the state and community startup funds such as gaming taxes, property taxes and sales taxes. According to David Giacopassi, Mark Nichols, and B. Grant Stitt, “the taxes collected [from casinos] are highly beneficial not only because of the large amount but also because they do not come with any ‘federal government strings attached’” (139). Ohio needs to jump on the boat and start taking advantage of the large amount of money that is available from the casinos. “The positive effects are the economic and fiscal benefits attributed to the casino in the form of new investment, new tax sources, and the like” (Felenstein, Littlepage, and Klacik).
Along with increasing state revenue, casinos would bring business to smaller, local businesses. Much of the time, casinos will purchase goods and services from local companies before they use external services. Harold Henderson states that in Gary, Indiana, “casinos buy 10 percent of goods and services from minority business enterprises and 5 percent from women’s business enterprises…the boats report making $11 million in purchases from Gary vendors” (9). In Indiana it is a law that requires casinos to make purchases from local businesses. Ohio should adapt a similar law if casinos are permitted to operate in the state. This would assure local business owners that they would be well taken care of.
Casinos operating all over the country have brought another major benefit to communities, decreased unemployment. Casinos operate a big business therefore they need to employ a large amount of people. In almost every city, “jobs are the first thing that people seek in a new industry” (Henderson 9). In Atlantic City, the casinos provide 36,000 jobs (Teske and Sur 132); in Gary the casinos provide 2,487 jobs (Henderson 9). The casinos have become major employers in the towns where they operate. Ohio could use a big company that would employ thousands. It is said that the “jobs generally come with full medical benefits and often have resulted in an increased wage scale for service workers in the community” (Giacopassi, Nichols, and Stitt 139). As many people know, it is sometimes hard to find a job with full medical benefits and flexible hours. And lets face it; there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities for a good job in Cincinnati. Casinos could help Cincinnati and the rest of the state of Ohio employ the unemployed.
Another major benefit Ohio would receive from allowing casino gambling in the state is increased exposure from people who live out of town. People would not be coming to town just to gamble, but also to enjoy all the other wonderful things there are to do. People would eat at the restaurants, stay at the hotels, and discover wonderful stores and entertainment. Millions of people flock to casinos every year and if they were flocking to Ohio, it would give the state increase exposure that it needs to attract the crowds. According to Harold Henderson, people who come in from out of town give the city exposure and may counteract stereotypes (9). There really isn’t anything to lose when millions of people flock to your town or state each year. It gives the exposure that Ohio is in need of.
There are many people that oppose casino gambling. They think that it leads to compulsive gambling and increased crime. They also worry that the excitement will die down and the casinos will stop generating money to the state and/or community. I do not believe this to be true. I won’t deny that there are compulsive gamblers because I know that there are many. I cannot say however that these people are compulsive gamblers because of the casinos. Mr. Fahrenkopf, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is quoted in an article by Brad Knickerbocker as saying that “the gaming industry is absolutely committed to working for the development and implementation of education, prevention, and treatment programs for disordered gambling” (3). Many casinos have gambling hotlines that can be accessed by people when needed, and many others run gaming programs that help people with compulsive gambling.
When it comes to the issue of increased crime, one really needs to look at police records of the communities in which casinos are stationed; David Giacopassi, Mark Nichols, and B. Grant Stitt did just that. Seven communities that house casinos were involved in the study. Police records were compared from the time that the towns did not have casinos to the time that casinos were up and operating for a few years. It is said in the article that the majority of police officials did not believe that crime had increased significantly in their communities during the period of time that the casinos were present (144). “The police officials interviewed tended to favor casinos, seeing them as improving the quality of life in the community and not having a significant effect on crime” (Giacopassi, Nichols, and Stitt 144).
Many people have worries that the money and exposure generated by casinos will not last. There are many casinos across the country and almost all are still up and running after they have been open for many years. It may be more of a concern if there are casinos located close to each other, but even then it is a slim chance that they will not be able to produce a substantial amount of revenue. Harold Henderson writes that the Gary casinos “don’t seem to have been slowed down much even though they face direct competition from other northwest Indiana boats” (11).
People have the right to have opposing viewpoints, but instead of saying that casinos should not be allowed in Ohio, we should enable them to be here, but set some rules. Every year a study should be done to see if the casinos have caused increase arrests and compulsive gambling. Ohio should also have a law that is similar to the Indiana law requiring casinos to buy a certain amount of goods and services from local businesses. Also, there should be a certain amount that a casino should pay to the state each year to ensure steady revenue. In addition to these things, casinos need to take a role in preventing excessive gambling. Many people believe that “while casinos resulted in some individuals having economic problems, the jobs provided by the casinos enabled many others to have a better life” (Giacopassi, Nichols, and Stitt 140). The same article also states that the economies in 7 out of 7 communities were and still are, positively affected by the casinos (145).
There will always be opposing viewpoints on casino gambling and whether individuals want casinos in their town. It is my belief that the benefits casinos bring far outweigh the negative effects. “Casinos spur business growth, increase tourism, and contribute greatly to the tax base and financial well-being of the communities” (Giacopassi, Nichols, and Stitt 139). Hopefully Ohio won’t wait too much longer to attain the benefits of casinos. Ohio should without a doubt allow casino gambling in the state. With casinos leading to increased economy, more revenue, job growth, and state exposure, what is there to lose?

Works Cited
Felsenstein, Daniel, Laura Littlepage, and Drew Klacik. “Casino Gambling as Local Growth Generation: Playing the Economic Development Game in Reverse?” Journal of Urban Affairs December 1999: 409-421. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. University of Cincinnati Library, Cincinnati, OH. 13 Feb. 2005 .
Giacopassi, David, Mark Nichols, and B. Grant Stitt. “Attitudes of Community Leaders in New Casino Jurisdictions Regarding Casino Gambling’s Effects on Crime and Quality of Life.” Journal of Gambling Studies Summer 1999: 123- 147. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. University of Cincinnati Library, Cincinnati, OH. 13 Feb. 2005 .
Henderson, Harold. “Luck Be A Lady In Gary.” Planning Nov. 1999: 8-12. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. University of Cincinnati Library, Cincinnati, OH. 22 Jan. 2005 .
Knickerbocker, Brad. “The Growing Cost of Gambling.” Christian Science Monitor June 1999: 3p. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. University of Cincinnati Library, Cincinnati, OH. 13 Feb. 2005 .
Lynch, April. “All Bets Are Off.” Mother Jones Jul/Aug 1997: 38. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. University of Cincinnati Library. Cincinnati, OH. 25 Feb. 2005
Simurda, Stephen J. “When Gambling Comes to Town.” Columbia Journalism Review Jan/Feb 1994: 5p. Communication and Mass Media Complete. EBSCOhost. University of Cincinnati Library, Cincinnati, OH. 13 Feb. 2005 .
Teske, Paul, and Bela Sur. “Winners and Losers: Politics, Casino Gambling, and Development in Atlantic City.” Policy Studies Review Spring/Summer 1991: 130-137. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. University of Cincinnati Library, Cincinnati, OH. 13 Feb. 2005 .

Dreads

Critical Paper on the book Dreads by Francesco Mastalia and Alfonse Pagano.

The book titled Dreads by Francesco Mastalia and Alfonse Pagano is a fantastic read. It’s not just about hair, it shows and explains so much more. The book is not only for people who love and respect dreadlocks, but also for the people who have no knowledge of what dreads are really about. The organic expression of uncut hair is the theme of this gorgeous book. Through photography and location interviews, the book gives a new understanding of dreadlocks. “Interviewed on location by the photographers, jatta-wearers from around the world wax philosophic about the integrity of their hair, and every stunning image confirms their choice.”

The authors are both very talented individuals. Francesco Mastalia “has spent the last twenty-five years mastering the art of black and white photography. His commitment to documentary photography has taken him around the world”. Alfonse Pagano “turned to photography as an art form in 1994, after a distinguished career as a painter, during which his mixed media and oil works were exhibited in such venues as the Carnegie Museum of Art and Laguna Gloria Museum of Art”. The talent of both of these individuals is captured in this book.

This 140-page book takes the reader inside the world of dreadlocks, which are also known as jatta, palu, knotted, natty, ropelike locks, and ndiagne. The book helps to clarify the different meanings of dreads in relation to many different cultures and individuals. The story is told through over one hundred breathtaking black and white photographs and multiple pages of dialogue. Many of the photographs are accompanied by messages from photographed individuals, indicating what their hair means to them. One man says that he is “pulled up to heaven by his jatta”. Vernon Reid proclaims, “Locks are one of the most abstract yet concrete human statements. They evoke a tactile response”. One of the photographed women says that she thinks of her dreads as “battle scars”. Another man states that “hair is sacred, it is part of your dignity. It is part of your identity, from the first day to the last”. There are many different beliefs and reasons that people have their dreadlocks and this book is worth reading, especially for people who need to have a better understanding of the hair.

There is an explanation of the history of dreadlocked hair at the beginning of the book and it is very valuable in helping one understand the importance of dreads. Many people are still unfamiliar with dreadlocks and what they mean. The writings also offer the reader a better understanding of what dreads mean in different cultures and societies. From Jamaican rastas to Maori warriors; from the Sadhus in India to the Himba in Namibia; dreadlock meaning is put into words that anyone can appreciate and gain knowledge from.

The photographs that are contained in this work capture the expressions and personalities of the individuals with dreads. One picture depicts a rastaman with dreads down to his knees standing in the doorway of a run down shack in Jamaica. His dialogue states that he is a simple man and does not dwell on material things. He declares that his dreadlocks bring him spiritual well being and he knows that the way he lives (dreadlocks being one of the beliefs he lives by) will bring him more gratification than any material thing. Another picture depicts a close-up shot of a middle-aged man. He exhibits a tired and worn face with sprout-like dreads adorning his head. It captures his rawness and his beauty. A different photograph shows a man from India who is sitting on the ground and meditating. His dreadlocks reach down past his stomach. It is a very enlightening picture.

This book was created to counteract the typical stereotypes people have about dreadlocks. Many people feel that dreads are dirty or the people who display them are dirty, but this book proves that typecast false. Through the introduction and personal interviews contained inside, the reader is drawn into the spirituality and personality of dreads. It is shown that many individuals grow dreadlocks for spiritual reasons, others grow them to get in touch with their culture, and some grow them for purely fashionable reasons. After reading the interviews and looking at the stunning photographs, the reader should have a better sense of the hair and understand that no one that wears their hair like this is “dirty”.

Through the photographs and commentary it is shown that this book proves that hair is a very meaningful and powerful thing. “Psychologically and philosophically your hair is a reflection of the state of your consciousness, your internal beliefs and your relationship with the world.” This is strongly reflected in the book. From different cultures around the world; America and Jamaica to India and Japan; they are all covered in this photographic book called Dreads.