Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gambling On the Ballot Again at Gettysburg

Once again, the issue of whether to allow gambling in Gettysburg has come up. The idea was shot down back in 2006, but an unidentified investment group has decided to bring it up again, and would like to install slot machines in the Eisenhower Hotel and Conference Center, which is located on Emmitsburg Road in Gettysburg. The hotel is only five miles from the heart of town, and one mile from the battlefield.

A major issue is whether other types of gambling will be allowed as well. Pro gambling advocates say that gambling will bring revenue in, and argue that if being that close to the battlefield is so important, people should have voiced their opposition when the hotel moved in. Those against gambling cite that the casinos will take away workers from other jobs, thus hurting area businesses, and will drive away heritage tourists. Because most gamblers will be local, this will also drive up social costs to curb addictions.

Personally, I do not feel that gambling belongs in a place like Gettysburg. Coming from Colorado, I saw how the economy was changed when gambling came in to mountain towns that had seen their heyday during the 1800's with gold and silver mining. Cripple Creek, Black Hawk, and Central City all benefited when gambling moved in ... at first. The casinos restored many of the old buildings, which was great. But after a few years, casinos drove out other mom and pop businesses. The same could hold true for Gettysburg. To me, the town is on sacred ground, and bringing in gambling is like putting a casino on a cemetery. It's just plain sacrilegious, and disrespectful. Let me know what you think of this issue!

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