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Lake Geo. citizens debate casinos: a windfall or curse?

At a public forum April 30 on the pros and cons of hosting a gambling casino in Lake George, local resident Joanne Gavin calls for collaboration to solve economic problems in Lake George, rather than lobbying the state for a casino — without appropriate research.  About 240 people attended the forum, held in the Fort William Henry Conference Center.

At a public forum April 30 on the pros and cons of hosting a gambling casino in Lake George, local resident Joanne Gavin calls for collaboration to solve economic problems in Lake George, rather than lobbying the state for a casino — without appropriate research. About 240 people attended the forum, held in the Fort William Henry Conference Center. Photo by Thom Randall.

— John Carr, owner of Adirondack Pub & Brewery, said he recognized the potential economic benefits, but he personally didn’t like gambling — and had reservations about Lake George hosting a casino.

Although a casino would likely provide year-round employment, perhaps for 1,000 or so people in town who now live below poverty level, there might be negative offsetting factors, he said. Carr continued that multi-national corporations might be the only entities reaping the substantial benefits that some people predict.

"We have to investigate this,” Carr said. “A lot of research needs to be done.”

George Thurston, a retired engineer, said he had reviewed independent studies on the issue — and he was wary of gambling’s impact, citing a soaring number of bankruptcies in communities that host gambling.

“There’s a lot of revenue, but at the expense of poor people who can’t afford to spend their money at casinos,” he said. “Gambling strips the economy at the lower levels while enriching the wealthy.”

Joanne Gavin suggested that village leaders consider other types of major attractions, perhaps developing a ski area on nearby Prospect Mountain.

“Let’s not grasp at something that’s thrown at us and sold to us, let’s work collectively towards solutions to our problems,” she said, calling for collaboration instead of the prevailing divisive controversy over hosting gambling

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