The positives and negatives of a Rochester casino

Posted at: 09/03/2013 10:04 PM
Updated at: 09/03/2013 11:41 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

The idea of bringing a casino to our area has been a hot topic for years. And now the Seneca Nation of Indians has been looking locally to develop. But what impact will a casino have on our area?

A study by the Center for Governmental Research show Rochester could earn around $11 million a year, if a casino was built downtown. That's sound pretty good, but those who are struggling with addiction say it's a roll of the dice.

Even though this study was based on putting a casino in downtown Rochester, a local expert says the pros and cons can apply to any area throughout the county.

Dr. Kent Gardner is the project director for a study showing what a casino would mean for downtown Rochester.

Garner says, "The economic impact of a casino in the Rochester area would be substantial."

According to the report, a local casino would attract gamblers from other areas. Also, pump millions of dollars into our local economy. Local businesses, hotels and restaurants would also benefit. The biggest plus, it would create hundreds of jobs. But the study also shows why not everything is a win.

"Pawn shops and prostitution and those sorts of things," says Gardner. "I think that's much less than what people thought several years ago. Nonetheless gambling is the real problem."

No one knows more about gambling addiction than Wendy Emerson.

"I don't buy that it's a positive thing for this area," says Emerson. "I don't buy it at all."

Emerson won $10,000 at a slot machine fourteen years ago and spent the next ten years chasing that high. Begging, borrowing and stealing.

She says, "It can destroy credit, jobs, relationships, marriages, parenting and I've lived all of that."

Now that talks of putting a casino in the Rochester area are very real, Emerson says she's afraid more people will fall into the the vicious cycle.

"It makes me sad to think of all the people that can lead their way into an addiction like that," says Emerson. "Yes it will bring jobs, but I think the downside, the darkness is a much worse proposition for me."

So is a casino a good thing for the Rochester area? Gardner says it all depends on you.

Gardner says, "There's good and there's bad and it becomes, to some degree, a decision that might be a lifestyle decision in the community in which it's located. People may say I don't want that kind of business in my community. Some may say I really welcome this because it may stabilize the neighborhood."

The study also shows the social costs for having a casino would be around $10 million a year. Wendy Emerson told us this is something she never thought would happen to her. If you would like more information about the issue, you can click here.

Right now, it's not clear if a casino will be built or where it might be built. News10NBC is waiting to hear back from the Seneca Nation to see if any decisions have been made.