Mixed feelings about Baltimore's coming casino [Letter]

December 18, 2013

As the owner of a small business that produces events in Baltimore, I have been pleased to see the continued growth of entertainment and cultural options in Baltimore City. However, I have mixed emotions about the large casino taking shape on Russell Street.

Owning a business is a form of legalized gambling. As a business owner I appreciate the freedom of choice to take chances. On a personal level, we all have choices involving risk. We can climb mountains in Colorado or take hikes in a state parks.

Risk taking is based on making informed decisions. Small business owners hope to do better than the stock markets when they invest in their business. Venture capitalist investors often require a 50 percent compound annual return. All one has to do is look at the physical opulence of casinos to see that the odds are stacked against the gambling patrons return on investment. A little research will verify what the odds of winning at slots and table games are very poor.

Having said that, we live in a free country, and people like to gamble at casinos. Like the failed war on drugs, making gambling illegal does not work to curb the practice. Better to have folks come downtown, have a good experience, and ultimately let some of that loose money make its way to the local school system than float out of town.

Blake Goldsmith, Baltimore

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