Say No To CasiNO! letter to State Gaming Study Committee

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On Monday, local business owner John F. Popp presented three letters to the State Gaming Study Committee.

In no particular order, the letters were from the Allen County Commissioners, Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards and the third from many business and civic leaders in the community.

Date: August 24, 2009
To: Members of the Gaming Study Committee
Re: Casino Referendum for Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana

As Chairman of the Coalition for a Better Fort Wayne, I have contacted a number of concerned business and community leaders that are opposed to bringing a casino to Fort Wayne.  This group strongly urges you to  vote against recommending a referendum that would allow that to happen.  These community leaders, along with the members of our committee, represent a diverse group; Democrats and Republicans, and various religious and ethnic groups and we all share a common love for Fort Wayne because it is a great place to live and raise a family.  We are convinced that a casino would harm Fort Wayne.

Casinos are a poor economic investment.  The negative effects on local business are well documented and far outweigh casino revenue.  Professor Earl Grinols, a highly respected authority on the effects of gambling, has calculated that for every $1.00 of revenue received from gambling, there is a cost of $3.10 incurred.  The costs include lost revenue to businesses such as local restaurants and retail businesses, crime costs (apprehension, adjudication, incarceration), business and employment costs, social services, welfare and other costs.  In addition Robert Ady of Ady and Associates (the premier business locator in the United States) was quoted recently as saying “A casino is an eliminator” in regards to its effect on a city’s ability to attract new business.  And lastly, our greatest concern is the increased social distress to the community: increased crime, suicides, and bankruptcies.  It has been shown that non gamblers will pay an estimated $10,330 for every pathological gambler.  75% of pathological gamblers admit to committing a felony to feed their habit.

We love Fort Wayne and think its citizens dserve better than being saddled with the bad economic investment represented by gambling interest.  With these facts in mind, we respectfully request that you will vote against recommending a referendum that would enable a casino or additional slot machines to be transferred to the Fort Wayne area.

We think conducting a referendum is de facto approval of a casino…In contrast to a political election where both sides generally have similar resources, the casino interests have vast sums of money to conduct a media campaign that dwarfs the other side and simply can overwhelm the opposition…it’s the Golden Rule – “He who has the gold; rules.”  We urge you to recommend against a referendum.

John F. Popp
CEO of Aunt Millie’s Bakeries
Chairman, The Coalition for a Better Fort Wayne

Names of business and community leaders opposed to a casino and a referendum:

Dr. Michael Mastrangelo, Community Leader & Chairman Board of Directors, Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra
Mr. Keith Busse, President, Steel Dynamics
Mayor Terry McDonald – Mayor, New Haven, Allen County, Indiana
Mr. Jonathan Ray, President of Fort Wayne Urban League
Pastor Steve Terry, President, East Allen County School Board
Reverend Bill McGill, Senior Pastor, Imani Baptist Temple
Mr. John Blum, V.P., J.P. Morgan Chase Bank & President of Southwest Allen County School Board
Ms. Sherry L. Chapman, Secretary, Southwest Allen County School Board
Mr. Donald Duff, President Northwest Allen County School Board
Mr. Robert N. Taylor, CEO, Do It Best Corporation
Mr. Don McArdle, Owner, McArdle Realty & Consulting
Mr. John Tippmann, CEO, Tippmann Group
Mr. Don Wood, President & Founder of 80/20 Company
Mr. Mark Robison, Chairman & President, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company
Mr. Fernando Zapari, Publisher, El Mexicano
Mr. Robert Ellis, Jr., President, Ellison Bakeries
Mr. Todd Wallen, V.P. General Manager, Ellison Bakeries
Mr. & Mrs. Ed Dahm, Mike’s Car Wash
Mr. Al Zacher, Former President, The Zacher Company
Mr. David Quilhot, President, Quilhot Construction Company
Mr. Zohrab Tazian, P.E. President, Tazian Enterprises
Mr. Mark Deister, President, Deister Machine Company
Mr. Don Willis, Chairman, Fourth Wave
Mr. Matt Sackett, President Leisure Sports Specialist
Mr. John Meyer, Principle, Monarch Capital Management Inc.
Mr. Mark Witmer, Esquire
Mr. Michael Votaw, V.P., Votaw Electric, Inc.
Ms. Cathy Beere, President, DeBrand Chocolate
Mrs. Kari Romey, Owner, Expresso Gallery Coffee Roasters
Mrs. Shirley Woods, Founder, Euell Wilson Center
Mr. Carl Moellering, President, Moellering Management
Mr. Alex Azar, Founder & Senior Chairman of Azars Inc., Food & Lodging
Mr. Willis S. Clark, Retired executive of Central Soya, Past Chairman of United Way & Urban League Boards
Christoff & Christoff Law Firm
Mr. Tim Hall, General Manager, Hall’s Guest House & Hall’s Family Restaurtants
Mr. Tom Irmscher, President & Owner of Irmscher, Inc. Construction Company


Earl Grinols.  Gambling in America, Costs & Benefits.  Page 131.
Ibid, p. 74-75.
Arnold Wexler. “Statistical Information on Compulsive Gamblers,” Council of Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey.
Robert Ady Speech before Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership Inventor Meeting. 2/26/2009
Earl Grinols, Gambling in America, Costs & Benefits.  Page 141.
Ibid, p. 140.
National Gambling Impact Study Commission.  Chapter 4, P. 4.

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