Terre Haute is ready for the next roll of the dice. The city council has passed a resolution to bring a casino to town.
It’s not a done deal, but we look at the opposition taken into consideration and further development discussion.
“There’s been a lot of comment about location, you know I think there are some folks that were thinking about the river,” Senator Jon Ford said.
A casino along the Wabash River certainly wouldn’t be a novel concept, but at this point it’s still talk.
“Maybe close to the mall or maybe as far up north as the old landing area, I’ve heard as a suggestion. Downtown is certainly a possibility,” Ford said.
But it’s the east side that offers the most potential.
It’s expansive land that makes construction on the east side of town so attractive. Not only that it’s traffic along I-70 that can draw out of town patrons.
Many Terre Haute residents agree, we’ve got room to grow as a city, offer additional establishments. But talk of a casino is still a divided conversation.
Thursday night’s city council meeting heard several first hand stories about addiction, many think a casino would only add to city troubles.
“We can’t continue to be the community that looks at everything with a glass half empty mentality, we can’t be afraid to take risks, to see what ends up happening,” Karrum Nasser said.
Nasser, city council president says it would be naive to think addiction issues won’t arise with a casino, but 15% of an admission tax will go toward the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, providing resources not only for gambling problems, but drug and alcohol. Issues our community already faces.
A couple of weeks ago at the Statehouse we heard from Shawn Keen with Terre Haute Police who says he researched the correlation between a casino and crime and found there was no increase.
Nasser also says revenue generated from the casino would go toward what the community can see such as infrastructure, improvement at parks and development along the river front.
We decided to hear some feedback from the community today about the casino. Here’s what we heard.
“I don’t think this casino idea is a good long-term strategy,” city resident Sarah Dillon said.
“Especially in light of some of the city’s finances, I think it’s not only help the city, but the county as well. So I would be in favor of it, if it’s viewed in that light,” Neil Marchese, city resident said.
While a survey commissioned by the casino’s parent company showed 56% of those asked were in flavor of the casino coming to Terre Haute with only 28% opposed. When the resolution was passed at Thursday night’s city council meeting several spoke out against the casino sharing their first hand experience with addiction.