Indianapolis, A.K.A. Las Vegas East

Indianapolis, A.K.A. Las Vegas East

It’s an exciting time for Indiana’s gaming community — that undiscovered hub of gambling culture somewhere in between Atlantic City and Vegas. Gamblers rejoice, Mecca has arrived. In times of economic turmoil, nothing is more secure than the “if you build it, they will come” investment of a casino. And who needs it more than blue-collar America? Bored senior citizens can stop raising their hands now.

During an interview with the Indianapolis Star, Mark Hemmerle, general manager of the new Indiana Live Casino assures everyone that these are indeed golden years for everyone involved with The Cordish Company and Indiana Downs — the big winners in this deal. How comforting. To entice you, Indianapolis Star displays the impressive figures much like Indiana Live will be displaying impossible jackpots that only J-Lo’s mother has succeeded in winning:

“More than 1,900 high-tech slot machines and upscale delicacies from Café Live by Wolfgang Puck await gamers inside Indiana Live Casino’s temporary pavilion, a 70,000-square-foot pavilion that may employ up to 350 employees. In January, the temporary site will give way to a sprawling, 233,000-square-foot permanent Indiana Live Casino connected to the Indiana Downs clubhouse. The permanent site will feature not only the slots and electronic gaming devices but also upscale dining and nightlife destinations, including Maker’s Mark Steakhouse, NASCAR Sports Grille, Live Market featuring international foods in a fresh-market atmosphere and both the Angels Rock Bar and Mosaic Center Bar.”

“All of that — combined with both live and simulcasting horse racing at Indiana Downs, you just can’t ask for more,” Hemmerle said. -Indianapolis Star

It’s funny, I remember when newspapers were questioning press releases and not conveying them.

And where was Indiana before gaming? Indianapolis seemed to have it all. The city was teeming with youthful opportunists whose lifelong mission was to bring hoards of new urbanists to their undiscovered paradise. It even made a few worthless top 10 lists. So why bring in a southpaw against a left-handed home run hitter? State officials needed more money. Hit hard from property tax reform and desperate for more income, Indiana allowed more gambling, even in the face of illegal gambling crackdowns. It seems ironic that the state is willing to roll the dice here. Look at what gambling has done for Atlantic City and Las Vegas … beautiful, vibrant communities with unlimited potential.

Sarcasm aside, the bottom line is that casinos are the worst option for short-term financial relief. Jobs can be added somewhere else — preferably in an industry that produces actual goods and services. Casinos show nothing but disrespect to a lackluster national and local economy. The money they put into employment is irrelevant compared to the mounds of cash these institutes take from the desperate.

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