By passing Issue 3 from the ballot yesterday, Ohio voters have told the state that they want Ohio casino gambling. The problem is that the passage of the marker on the ballot may, or may not, have dealt a huge blow to the future of Detroit casinos. As a political advisor, and resident of Detroit, I have an interesting insight into this issue.
Many news sources in Michigan have been reporting that the acceptance of casinos in Ohio would hurt the gaming industry in Michigan. They have pointed to the fact that there are many residents that come up from Ohio to gamble in Detroit. While this is an obvious assumption, these news sources have not been able to give any kind of numbers that would support this claim.
On the flip side, these news organizations have not mentioned the fact that competition usually brings about improvement, especially in the field of casinos. Take Las Vegas as an example. With the fact that the Las Vegas area has nearly seventy casinos has not reduced the traffic for particular casinos at all. It has caused the casinos to do everything that they could to win over business, and to keep it. It has caused the city of Las Vegas to continually evolve with trends to stay ahead of any competition.
As Ohio and Michigan continue to struggle with the downturn in the economy (which may, or may not, be over with yet), and the downturn of the automotive industry, new ways of gaining money, jobs, and tax dollars have been needed to be looked at. Instead of worrying about what money will be taken from the casinos in Michigan, Michiganders should be asking the casinos, what are you going to do to improve your product? What are you going to do to fill your seats?
One should also realize that casinos will not go up overnight in Ohio. It might take at least a year or two before temporary casinos had a chance to open. This gives the Michigan casinos more time to enlarge their regular client base, and to spend as much time and money as possible to point out to those that live in Ohio should consider gambling in Detroit. This also gives the Detroit area casinos a lot of time to plan their attack for once the Ohio casinos finally open their doors.
Instead of worrying about the fact that the Detroit area casinos are going to have to compete for gamblers from Ohio, Michiganders, and Michigan new sites, should be embracing the fact that the Detroit casinos will now be gaining competition. They should be embracing the opportunity that competition from Ohio casinos offers the state of Michigan.
Detroit Free Press