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HomeNewsArchivesOPENING ST. CROIX TO CASINOS FRAUGHT WITH DANGER

OPENING ST. CROIX TO CASINOS FRAUGHT WITH DANGER

For much too long there has been a deafening silence against the rising tide of
this insidious parasite of casino gambling.
Many have felt or been constrained either by expatriate domicile, passivity, or mercenary motivation. But now later has become sooner. We have the imminent arrival of the first casino on St. Croix. It is still not too late to change course and avoid calamities of all sorts. It is time for us to grasp the reigns of our own destiny and throw off any further and
future neo-colonial shackles.
As the late Kwame Toure (Stokley Carmichael) used to say on answering the telephone, "Ready for Revolution!" A revolution against the rising tide of economic exploitation the benefits of which will rest solely with those who stand to gain the most. A future not wrought from our hands is no future at all.
It is still not too late to avoid the catastrophe of casino gambling. In "The Wretched of the Earth (The Handbook For The Black Revolution That Is Changing
The Shape Of The World), Franz Fanon writes, "*The national bourgeoisie will be greatly helped on its way toward decadence by the Western bourgeoisie's, who come to it as tourists avid for the exotic, for big game hunting, and casino. Such activity is given the name tourism, and for that occasion will be built up national industry. The casinos of (prerevolutionary) Havana and of Mexico, the beaches of Rio, the little Brazilian and Mexican girls, the half-breed thirteen year-olds, the port of Acapulco and Copacabana – all these are the stigma of this depravation of the national middle-class. Because it is bereft of ideas,
because it lives to itself and cuts itself off from the people*the national middle class will have nothing better to do than take on the role of manager for Western enterprise, and it will in practice set up its country as the brothel of Europe [and America, (author's comment)]. (Pg. 154-155). We can all see the depravation prostitution has brought to our communities. And now we stand on precipice of another moral and economic calamity.
The National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (NCALG) writes that, "Gambling cannibalizes local businesses. One hundred dollars spent in a slot machine is a hundred dollars that is not spent in a local restaurant, theater or retail store.
As Donald Trump told the Miami Herald, "People will spend a tremendous amount of money in Casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they'll lose customer dollars to the casinos."
How much more of the scarce tourist dollars can St. Croix merchants stand to lose
while the big "cats" become even more wealthy off the backs of the common people. Tourist dollars normally spent in gift shops, or with tour operators and water sports establishments will be invariably consumed in the casino.
On top of that looms the phenomena of all inclusive resorts. The Jamaican experience has been that all inclusive resorts tend to hold "captive" the visitors. Casino's in Las Vegas and Atlantic City cater to big spenders by offering huge incentives for the guest spend money in the casino. These incentives include free rooms, free food, and sometimes even free travel arrangements.
So while the casino operator is cleaning up at the roulette, or craps table our native enterprises will not be making a cent. Casino's "rob peter to pay Paul". And in every case 'peter' is the local economy and 'Paul' is the casino operator.
Yes, the casino operator throws you in the guise of employment of generally low wage floor workers, but you can bet that movers, shakers, and decision makers will be in the literal and figurative pocket of the casino operator.
The NCALG reports that "BY 1991, ATLANTIC CITY CASINOS ARE DEDICATING $234 MILLION FOR PROMOTIONAL FOOD AND DRINKS."
The NCALG continues: Gambling triggers addiction. The more legalized gambling available, the more addictive behavior is triggered. In 1989, only 1.7 percent of Iowa's adults were gambling addicts, but after river boat casinos were legalized, the rate of addiction more than tripled to 5.4 percent.
The Florida Office of Planning and Budgeting conducted a study that concluded that the costs to government of gambling addiction far outweighed all revenues that might be generated by casino gambling.
Need more be said? Dr Valerie Lorenz, Director of the Center for Compulsive
Gambling in her address to the NCALG Conference of September 18-19, 1998 said: "The increase of pathological gambling, as Senator Simon said, from three quarters of 1 percent back in 1975 to over 5 percent among U.S. adults and as much as seven to 11 percent of teenagers in our country today."
This should immediately awaken the reader to the destruction and depravation of
another addictive substance; crack cocaine. We all have some personal experience of the devastation that "crack" has wrought on the citizenry of the Virgin Islands. My Grandmother used to say: "once bitten twice shy".
Furthermore, D. Jacobs, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology indicated during the NCALG Conference, "Problem gambling is not only a family disease but often an insidious and
progressive inter-generational affair, provoked and perpetuated by successive
dysfunctional family relationships." Dr. Jacobs continues, "My research has lead me to estimate that as many as one in every 25 Americans is the juvenile or the adult child of a problem gambler. This makes problem gambling an affair of national significance and concern."
Have we considered the further erosion of civility, respect for law, and respect for life that will potentially take place amongst the troubled youth of beloved Islands? The introduction of casino gambling into the Virgin Islands augurs nothing but troubled days ahead. Lets step back before it's too late.
Vernon George, an economic consultant for the casino industry, who also provides
feasibility studies for communities contemplating river boat gambling, says private developers usually exaggerate public benefits in order to make their proposals more attractive. How attractive has casino gambling been made to seem?
Let us remember that usually when something sounds to good to be true, it most
often is to good to be true.
EXCERPTS FROM: LEGALIZED GAMBLING AS A STRATEGY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ROBERT GOODMAN: DIRECTOR UNITED STATES GAMBLING STUDY:
Economics –
MONEY FOR GAMBLING IS USUALLY DIVERTED FROM
PEOPLES DISCRETIONARY EXPENDITURES. NOT ONLY
ARE DOLLARS DIVERTED PROM OTHER PRODUCTS AND
SERVICES, BUT GOVERNMENTS OFTEN ALSO LOSE SALES
TAXES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT ON THOSE
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.

RICHARD BYRON, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE
BANK OF BOSTON, DESCRIBES GAMBLING
EXPENDITURES AS MONEY EXTRACTED FROM OTHER
CONSUMER SPENDING. WHEN A PERSON SPENDS AN
EXTRA $20 FOR KENO TICKETS, HE OR SHE MAY NOT
BUY A $20 SHIRT. "YOU'RE JUST TAKING MONEY FROM
ONE AREA AND PUTTING IT SOMEWHERE ELSE.' SAYS
BYRON. ·'I DON'T THINK THE REASON YOU DO THIS IS
JOBS…IN THE LONG RUN, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET A
LOT OF ADDITIONAL JOBS OUT OF IT."
Crime *
THE AMERICAN INSURANCE INSTITUTE ESTIMATED
THAT 40 PERCENT OF ALL WHITE-COLLAR CRIME HAD
ITS ROOTS IN GAMBLING.
IN JUST THREE YEARS FOLLOWING THE OPENING OF ITS
FIRST CASINO, ATLANTIC CITY WENT FROM 50TH IN
THE NATION IN PER CAPITA CRIME TO FIRST.
A STUDY OF THE IMPACTS OF CASINO GAMBLING ON
ATLANTIC CITY AND ITS SURROUNDING AREAS FOUND
THAT NOT ONLY DID CRIME SPILL OVER TO
SURROUNDING AREAS WHICH WERE EASILY ACCESSIBLE
FROM ATLANTIC CITY, BUT SOME OF THE AREAS HAD
NO MEASURABLE ECONOMIC BENEFIT FROM CASINO
DEVELOPMENT.

What do we do, where ought we to go from here? One sustainable avenue for long
term development of the tourism sector is Eco-tourism. In a nationally funded
study The Australian Office of National Tourism reported, "Eco-tourism is a fast growing sector of the tourism industry. It offers excellent potential to generate foreign exchange earnings, private sector investment, employment, and other economic and social benefits, particularly in rural areas. Eco-tourism provides an incentive for the conservation and sustainable management of public and private lands."
The report went on to say, "Eco-tourism is both an important niche market and a catalyst for the wider tourism industry to develop on an ecologically sustainable basis. The principles of Eco-tourism can help Australia to develop a long-term sustainable tourism industry generating jobs and wealth while at the same time protecting the country's natural assets¯its unspoiled environments.
The "1997 Profile of U.S. Resident Travelers Visiting Overseas Destinations
-Outbound Reported From: Survey of International Air Travelers (IFS) provided by
Office of The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tourism Industries list the following statistics:
Traveler characteristics – All US Travelers
For Leisure For Business &VFR & Convention
Leisure/Recreational Activities
Dining in Restaurants 84% 89% 89%

Shopping 76% 81% 68%
Water sports/Sunbathing 23% 28% 12%
Casino/Gambling 8% 9% 5%
Casino/Gambling is listed in the tabulated data as 16th out of 23 leisure and
recreational activities that US resident travelers take part in while traveling. The clear implication is that casino gambling is not a major draw for tourism dollars once the traveler has arrived at the intended destination.
Why build the success of an established industry on such a weak draw?
Clearly, the casino operator is after the other major source of income, and that is the local market. Are the Virgin Islands ready to see 1/25 of the local population as problem gamblers? Are the Virgin Islands ready an increase in white-collar crime, graft and corruption?
Robert Goodman, Director of United States Gambling Study reported that " *Once gambling ventures are legalized and governments become dependent on their revenues, the future form and spread of gambling with a state becomes extremely difficult to control." Does the clearly overwhelmed and poorly motivated government of the Virgin Islands need any more systems that it cannot control? The citizens of the Virgin Islands must answer that for themselves.
One thing is certain, the answer must come soon. It's rather foolhardy to close the barn door after the horse is out.
The Qur'an, the Holy Book of Islam, says concerning gambling: They ask you concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit." [Qur'an chapter 2, verse 219]
And: O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, is an abomination of Satan's
handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that abomination in order that you may be
successful. Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and
gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God and from prayer. So, will
you not then abstain? {Qur'an, chapter 5, verses 90-91]
The time for nation building and revolutionary action is at hand. Let us start by avoiding that which will surely lead to regret and an even further erosion of our rich cultural and moral heritage.

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L.A. Davis, Fort Washington, Maryland
St Mary's School, 1972
St Joseph High School, 1976
BA, Philosophy, Morgan State University, 1981
US Army 1981-1992
Telecommunications Systems Analyst and Technical Writer

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For much too long there has been a deafening silence against the rising tide of
this insidious parasite of casino gambling.
Many have felt or been constrained either by expatriate domicile, passivity, or mercenary motivation. But now later has become sooner. We have the imminent arrival of the first casino on St. Croix. It is still not too late to change course and avoid calamities of all sorts. It is time for us to grasp the reigns of our own destiny and throw off any further and
future neo-colonial shackles.
As the late Kwame Toure (Stokley Carmichael) used to say on answering the telephone, "Ready for Revolution!" A revolution against the rising tide of economic exploitation the benefits of which will rest solely with those who stand to gain the most. A future not wrought from our hands is no future at all.
It is still not too late to avoid the catastrophe of casino gambling. In "The Wretched of the Earth (The Handbook For The Black Revolution That Is Changing
The Shape Of The World), Franz Fanon writes, "*The national bourgeoisie will be greatly helped on its way toward decadence by the Western bourgeoisie's, who come to it as tourists avid for the exotic, for big game hunting, and casino. Such activity is given the name tourism, and for that occasion will be built up national industry. The casinos of (prerevolutionary) Havana and of Mexico, the beaches of Rio, the little Brazilian and Mexican girls, the half-breed thirteen year-olds, the port of Acapulco and Copacabana - all these are the stigma of this depravation of the national middle-class. Because it is bereft of ideas,
because it lives to itself and cuts itself off from the people*the national middle class will have nothing better to do than take on the role of manager for Western enterprise, and it will in practice set up its country as the brothel of Europe [and America, (author's comment)]. (Pg. 154-155). We can all see the depravation prostitution has brought to our communities. And now we stand on precipice of another moral and economic calamity.
The National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling (NCALG) writes that, "Gambling cannibalizes local businesses. One hundred dollars spent in a slot machine is a hundred dollars that is not spent in a local restaurant, theater or retail store.
As Donald Trump told the Miami Herald, "People will spend a tremendous amount of money in Casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they'll lose customer dollars to the casinos."
How much more of the scarce tourist dollars can St. Croix merchants stand to lose
while the big "cats" become even more wealthy off the backs of the common people. Tourist dollars normally spent in gift shops, or with tour operators and water sports establishments will be invariably consumed in the casino.
On top of that looms the phenomena of all inclusive resorts. The Jamaican experience has been that all inclusive resorts tend to hold "captive" the visitors. Casino's in Las Vegas and Atlantic City cater to big spenders by offering huge incentives for the guest spend money in the casino. These incentives include free rooms, free food, and sometimes even free travel arrangements.
So while the casino operator is cleaning up at the roulette, or craps table our native enterprises will not be making a cent. Casino's "rob peter to pay Paul". And in every case 'peter' is the local economy and 'Paul' is the casino operator.
Yes, the casino operator throws you in the guise of employment of generally low wage floor workers, but you can bet that movers, shakers, and decision makers will be in the literal and figurative pocket of the casino operator.
The NCALG reports that "BY 1991, ATLANTIC CITY CASINOS ARE DEDICATING $234 MILLION FOR PROMOTIONAL FOOD AND DRINKS."
The NCALG continues: Gambling triggers addiction. The more legalized gambling available, the more addictive behavior is triggered. In 1989, only 1.7 percent of Iowa's adults were gambling addicts, but after river boat casinos were legalized, the rate of addiction more than tripled to 5.4 percent.
The Florida Office of Planning and Budgeting conducted a study that concluded that the costs to government of gambling addiction far outweighed all revenues that might be generated by casino gambling.
Need more be said? Dr Valerie Lorenz, Director of the Center for Compulsive
Gambling in her address to the NCALG Conference of September 18-19, 1998 said: "The increase of pathological gambling, as Senator Simon said, from three quarters of 1 percent back in 1975 to over 5 percent among U.S. adults and as much as seven to 11 percent of teenagers in our country today."
This should immediately awaken the reader to the destruction and depravation of
another addictive substance; crack cocaine. We all have some personal experience of the devastation that "crack" has wrought on the citizenry of the Virgin Islands. My Grandmother used to say: "once bitten twice shy".
Furthermore, D. Jacobs, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology indicated during the NCALG Conference, "Problem gambling is not only a family disease but often an insidious and
progressive inter-generational affair, provoked and perpetuated by successive
dysfunctional family relationships." Dr. Jacobs continues, "My research has lead me to estimate that as many as one in every 25 Americans is the juvenile or the adult child of a problem gambler. This makes problem gambling an affair of national significance and concern."
Have we considered the further erosion of civility, respect for law, and respect for life that will potentially take place amongst the troubled youth of beloved Islands? The introduction of casino gambling into the Virgin Islands augurs nothing but troubled days ahead. Lets step back before it's too late.
Vernon George, an economic consultant for the casino industry, who also provides
feasibility studies for communities contemplating river boat gambling, says private developers usually exaggerate public benefits in order to make their proposals more attractive. How attractive has casino gambling been made to seem?
Let us remember that usually when something sounds to good to be true, it most
often is to good to be true.
EXCERPTS FROM: LEGALIZED GAMBLING AS A STRATEGY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ROBERT GOODMAN: DIRECTOR UNITED STATES GAMBLING STUDY:
Economics -
MONEY FOR GAMBLING IS USUALLY DIVERTED FROM
PEOPLES DISCRETIONARY EXPENDITURES. NOT ONLY
ARE DOLLARS DIVERTED PROM OTHER PRODUCTS AND
SERVICES, BUT GOVERNMENTS OFTEN ALSO LOSE SALES
TAXES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN SPENT ON THOSE
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.

RICHARD BYRON, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE
BANK OF BOSTON, DESCRIBES GAMBLING
EXPENDITURES AS MONEY EXTRACTED FROM OTHER
CONSUMER SPENDING. WHEN A PERSON SPENDS AN
EXTRA $20 FOR KENO TICKETS, HE OR SHE MAY NOT
BUY A $20 SHIRT. "YOU'RE JUST TAKING MONEY FROM
ONE AREA AND PUTTING IT SOMEWHERE ELSE.' SAYS
BYRON. ·'I DON'T THINK THE REASON YOU DO THIS IS
JOBS...IN THE LONG RUN, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET A
LOT OF ADDITIONAL JOBS OUT OF IT."
Crime *
THE AMERICAN INSURANCE INSTITUTE ESTIMATED
THAT 40 PERCENT OF ALL WHITE-COLLAR CRIME HAD
ITS ROOTS IN GAMBLING.
IN JUST THREE YEARS FOLLOWING THE OPENING OF ITS
FIRST CASINO, ATLANTIC CITY WENT FROM 50TH IN
THE NATION IN PER CAPITA CRIME TO FIRST.
A STUDY OF THE IMPACTS OF CASINO GAMBLING ON
ATLANTIC CITY AND ITS SURROUNDING AREAS FOUND
THAT NOT ONLY DID CRIME SPILL OVER TO
SURROUNDING AREAS WHICH WERE EASILY ACCESSIBLE
FROM ATLANTIC CITY, BUT SOME OF THE AREAS HAD
NO MEASURABLE ECONOMIC BENEFIT FROM CASINO
DEVELOPMENT.

What do we do, where ought we to go from here? One sustainable avenue for long
term development of the tourism sector is Eco-tourism. In a nationally funded study The Australian Office of National Tourism reported, "Eco-tourism is a fast growing sector of the tourism industry. It offers excellent potential to generate foreign exchange earnings, private sector investment, employment, and other economic and social benefits, particularly in rural areas. Eco-tourism provides an incentive for the conservation and sustainable management of public and private lands."
The report went on to say, "Eco-tourism is both an important niche market and a catalyst for the wider tourism industry to develop on an ecologically sustainable basis. The principles of Eco-tourism can help Australia to develop a long-term sustainable tourism industry generating jobs and wealth while at the same time protecting the country's natural assets¯its unspoiled environments.
The "1997 Profile of U.S. Resident Travelers Visiting Overseas Destinations
-Outbound Reported From: Survey of International Air Travelers (IFS) provided by
Office of The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tourism Industries list the following statistics:
Traveler characteristics - All US Travelers
For Leisure For Business &VFR & Convention
Leisure/Recreational Activities
Dining in Restaurants 84% 89% 89%

Shopping 76% 81% 68%
Water sports/Sunbathing 23% 28% 12%
Casino/Gambling 8% 9% 5%
Casino/Gambling is listed in the tabulated data as 16th out of 23 leisure and
recreational activities that US resident travelers take part in while traveling. The clear implication is that casino gambling is not a major draw for tourism dollars once the traveler has arrived at the intended destination.
Why build the success of an established industry on such a weak draw?
Clearly, the casino operator is after the other major source of income, and that is the local market. Are the Virgin Islands ready to see 1/25 of the local population as problem gamblers? Are the Virgin Islands ready an increase in white-collar crime, graft and corruption?
Robert Goodman, Director of United States Gambling Study reported that " *Once gambling ventures are legalized and governments become dependent on their revenues, the future form and spread of gambling with a state becomes extremely difficult to control." Does the clearly overwhelmed and poorly motivated government of the Virgin Islands need any more systems that it cannot control? The citizens of the Virgin Islands must answer that for themselves.
One thing is certain, the answer must come soon. It's rather foolhardy to close the barn door after the horse is out.
The Qur'an, the Holy Book of Islam, says concerning gambling: They ask you concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit." [Qur'an chapter 2, verse 219]
And: O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, is an abomination of Satan's
handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that abomination in order that you may be
successful. Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and
gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God and from prayer. So, will
you not then abstain? {Qur'an, chapter 5, verses 90-91]
The time for nation building and revolutionary action is at hand. Let us start by avoiding that which will surely lead to regret and an even further erosion of our rich cultural and moral heritage.

L.A. Davis, Fort Washington, Maryland
St Mary's School, 1972
St Joseph High School, 1976
BA, Philosophy, Morgan State University, 1981
US Army 1981-1992
Telecommunications Systems Analyst and Technical Writer