Press release from the City:
Two City Studies Contribute to Greater Understanding of Gaming Issue
Research to Aid Mayor, Community in Assessing Potential in High-Profile Opportunity
Advancing the community’s investigation of the gaming issue, Mayor Tom Henry today announced the release of two studies commissioned by the City of Fort Wayne on the topic. The research consisted of an independent analysis of the fiscal and economic impacts of gaming in Fort Wayne, and a review of the academic literature on the subject’s social and community effects.
Mayor Henry was joined at the event by the research teams: Valerie Richardson and John Stafford of the Community Research Institute (CRI) at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW); and Charlie Hiltunen, Jeff Lilly and Sam Turpin of The Third House Advocacy Group, LLC, in Indianapolis. To aid in comprehension, principals from both groups presented overviews of their respective data.
“From the moment we learned that private business groups were exploring the potential for gaming in Fort Wayne, I knew that we had to become informed and prepared,” said Henry. “As we continue to pursue a full consideration of this issue, these two studies will help equip our community to effectively evaluate the possibilities and to make decisions that both benefit us and are right for us.”
This research is part of Mayor Henry’s pledge to thoroughly and objectively examine the implications of the gaming issue. The work began in mid-January.
Findings from the economic and fiscal analysis prepared by The Third House include the following:
- Fort Wayne is a substantial and relatively untapped gaming market;
- A mature Fort Wayne gaming market, at capacity, may generate between $184 million and $244 million in annual adjusted gross revenue;
- This market could support between 1,727 and 2,283 gaming positions, at full capacity;
- Based upon economic considerations, Fort Wayne may have to enter the gaming market more conservatively, with a smaller facility housing between 500 and 1,500 positions;
- The estimated direct local net tax impact would likely range from $7.9 million for a 500 gaming position facility to $44 million for a 2,200-plus gaming position facility in mature-year operations;
- Depending on the authorizing legislation, Allen County, Fort Wayne and other county municipalities may forfeit future, annual non-host gaming community revenue sharing;
- Direct facility construction impacts may range from $50 million to over $500 million, based upon the type and scale of the facility. Indirect construction impacts may range from $41 million to over $410 million, depending on the level of direct capital investment;
- Direct employment impacts may range from 387 full-time equivalent employees for a 500 position facility to nearly 1,800 employees for a casino and entertainment destination complex. Indirect employment impacts may range from 535 employees to over 2,400 employees depending on the type of facility constructed; and
- Due to current and potential regional competition, the timing of opening a gaming facility in Fort Wayne may be critical to its eventual viability. If established first, a Fort Wayne casino would be able to tap the primary gaming market and affect business feasibility of potential competitors in neighboring states. Thus, the State of Indiana may have a substantial financial stake in this decision.
The CRI report provides an in-depth review of the extensive, previously published research and literature on the social costs and community impacts related to the presence of a casino facility within a community. It details a broad range of divergent data and opinion on the subject, underscoring the potential for social costs and the necessity for mitigation planning as part of any development strategy. The CRI did not attempt to assess the impact of specific alternatives or facility options.
“As Mayor, I am committed to creating opportunity for all our citizens and making sure that Fort Wayne has every chance to thrive,” added Henry. “In these difficult times, I believe that we must find new ways to grow jobs, enhance our neighborhoods, secure investment and build a stronger Fort Wayne. I am also reminded that every venture comes with costs that must be balanced. As a result, we must be as discerning in our decision making as we are courageous in our quest, always keeping the door open for opportunity to enter.”
The Third House Advocacy Group is a governmental affairs firm offering a full array of services including legislative and regulatory monitoring, issue management, research, state and local government procurement, and legislative and administrative lobbying.
The CRI is a Center of Excellence at IPFW providing research and analytical support to the private, public and nonprofit sectors in Northeast Indiana in the areas of socioeconomic data, economic development, municipal finance, public policy and urban planning.
County Economic Development Income Tax dollars were used to fund the studies. The Third House contract was for $32,000. The CRI work was part of an existing contract with the City.
Gaming studies on-line at the City website for download:
Fiscal and Economic Impact Analysis of Legalized Gaming in Fort WayneÂ – pdfÂ
Review of the Casino Literature With Special Emphasis on a Casino’s Affect on the Local CommunityÂ – pdfÂ