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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

Where's the skepticism?

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From reading "Gambling on rez tourism," it seems HCN has become a voice for the gambling industry (3/18/13). After touting the wonderful financial benefits to be gained by building increasingly outlandish theme park-style casinos, this article spent scarcely a word on the negative impacts suffered by locals. There was one dismissive paragraph that began: "Putting aside some controversial issues …" It mentioned only at the end that those issues include "encouraging gambling addiction."

Why are these issues being put aside? I have many Navajo friends who have fallen into that vicious cycle, spending a large part of their meager income at the casino and forgoing things like paying bills, child support, etc. -- all in pursuit of that magical jackpot. These locals make up much of the clientele of rez casinos. While it's easy to count up gross receipts to argue for these casinos, I think that the disadvantage for locals will ultimately outweigh the advantages. On the other hand, I guess tourists from Germany or Japan will have fun and spend some money. They won't be digging a deeper pit of poverty like many locals. HCN does not need to work for the gambling chamber of commerce.

Ron Pease
Aztec, New Mexico

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