How Casino Gambling Took an Impoverished Region from Rags to Riches
There are always going to be those who oppose the gambling industry in general, labeling it as an evil in the world that just leads to negative consequences for any area that embraces it. While gambling opponents claim that integrating gambling into a community brings with it crime and mayhem, Tunica is an example of how gambling saved a town from financially withering away. Until the early 1990’s, Tunica, Mississippi was actually one of the poorest regions in the United States. The residents were living in poverty, they endured open sewers and some of the county didn’t even have running water. The Sheriff’s department only had 9 employees total to provide law enforcement to the entire county, and the region’s public schools and other public buildings, as well as their roads were in disrepair. There was no good news to be had really. That is until gambling found its way to the region.
The first casino was opened in Tunica in the fall of 1992. Business boomed and within weeks the casino had more players and visitors than they could handle, resulting in lines out the door. In fact, the casino was charging an admission fee just to get in and visitors were gladly paying it. It is safe to say that gambling was an overnight sensation in Tunica. The casino industry has since grown into the third largest gambling region in the US, servicing close to 15 million visitors per year. Within a short time of the establishment of brick and mortar casinos in Tunica, the influx of revenue began positively impacting the area. In addition to the extensive job creation facilitated by the casinos themselves, business that were previously struggling and barely making it began to grow and expand, offering the people in the area more jobs as well. The financial boost in revenue was something that dramatically enhanced the quality of life for all Tunica county residents.
The region was able to make significant improvements which were desperately needed. Starting with road improvements and repairs made to the public schools, they were also able to improve the sewer system and provide running water throughout the county. They were able to increase the annual budget to their Sheriff’s department and increase their law enforcement staff from only 9 members to over 200. This was only the beginning of a new life being breathed into Tunica County and its residents. Next on the list of enhancements to the area came a stadium, an airport expansion to handle the influx of travelers to the gambling Mecca, an expo center, and most impressively, an eco park that cost them in excess of $20 million. That is a far cry from being the poorest spot in the US. Smaller businesses which were located in close proximity to the new casinos also experienced a boost in business, from restaurants to fitness centers and even the county museum.
Tunica is like the little engine that could, and when they finally reached their destination, they reaped the rewards by improving the lives of the people who had stayed and try to make it for so long in an impoverished area with little hope. What little hope they had, they turned into something big. So for all you gambling naysayers out there, perhaps you should be a little more open minded when discussing the prospects of gambling, both in brick and mortar locations and online gambling sites. Red blooded American adults are able to enjoy responsible and safe gambling entertainment without inviting crime bosses or criminals to the party. The cause and effect correlation of gambling to crime really has no solid ground anymore as evidenced by the good people of Tunica and the people who love to be a part of this rags to riches story.
Will Tunica online casino gambling take them even further up the riches ladder? Time will tell as the online industry is still in it’s infancy stage and states are still working out all the details with how to operate within the confines of the law.