The large and vocal opposition to the proposed casino in Gettysburg should be enough reason for the Gaming Control Board to deny a license to that historic town.
But if the gaming board needs further convincing, it should look to the supporters of the project. That's because they failed to make a compelling case that a casino would truly benefit Gettysburg.
Casino supporters argue that the gambling hall would produce major economic benefits for Gettysburg. Granted, the casino will generate tax revenue for the state and county. And some casino jobs will be created.
But this is nothing like an auto plant coming to town. At best, it's more like opening a Wal-Mart.
The economic ripple effects from a casino in Gettysburg will be minimal. Casinos are masters at keeping their customers on site. Just look at how little the rest of Atlantic City has benefitted from the casinos.
There's a reason why casinos serve food and drinks and provide entertainment and lodging. The business model is designed to keep everyone spending money around the clock, and not wandering off the property.
The casino will not attract tourists from outside the region. Just consider the other casinos that have opened in Pennsylvania. The overwhelming majority of customers live near the casino.
Few, if any, gamblers are flying in or driving long distances to get to a casino in Bensalem. The same will be true for Gettysburg.
Since the casino customers are from the region, there is not much new money getting pumped into the local economy. The money that is getting spent at the casino is money that would have been spent on other things, like movies and restaurants. (In the case of the hard-core gamblers, the money spent at casinos would have gone to buy food and clothing, or pay the rent.)
Granted, Gettysburg attracts lots of tourists who go to see the historic battlefield. But the Civil War buffs and families that go to Gettysburg are a very different clientele from the casino crowd. In short, there is no synergy between the Civil War battlefield and a gambling hall.
If anything, a casino detracts from the battlefield and undermines the quality of the experience that comes with visiting historic Gettysburg. Especially one right next door.