Prepare for something that will change the lively atmosphere of Coney Island forever.
Casinos may be coming to your neighborhood! This must be stopped!
Some people want to keep Coney Island as a family-friendly destination. However, there are those who want to turn it into an adult-only gambling site. Nearly 112 years have passed since the last gambling casino was closed on Coney Island. Now elected officials, and possibly the public will decide Coney Island’s future in November 2013. If New York State legalizes gambling in this area, workers will begin breaking ground to build casinos, which will have a large impact on neighboring communities such as Gravesend, Midwood, Borough Park, and Flatbush. The impact these casinos will have on these communities are currently being discussed.
Brooklyn’s Borough President, Marty Markowitz first proposed the idea in June. However, New York City Councilman David Greenfield disagrees with him. “Sure casinos may bring some jobs, but they bring a lot more violence, crime, drugs, and vice to our family neighborhoods.” Greenfield is currently working with community leaders to prevent the building of casinos in our neighborhood.
The New York Council On Problem Gambling’s, Jim Maney explains that the last survey of the neighborhood exposed a five percent gambling abuse problem. With increased availability and opportunity within a ten-mile radius of a casino, “We expect an increase of up to 90% (in gambling problems). People can walk or drive over to the casino easily and for some it will be harmful.”
Gambling can also turn into compulsive or pathological addictions. The looming fear is that casinos may lure impulsive gamblers that live nearby and eventually create new ones. Addictive entertainment will always draw customers and would constantly provide an available outlet for their compulsion.
Did you know that nearly two million adults are diagnosed with addictive gambling in a given year? Another four to six million would be considered problem gamblers; that is, they are experiencing problems because of their gambling behavior.
Currently, joggers, bike riders, and young parents with baby carriages stroll along the Coney Island boardwalk. For example, throughout the entire summer groups of religious women who have felt it safe to walk, run, or jog there on any morning. In addition, there are usually many little children on Coney Island because of the New York Aquarium, an ice skating rink, and rides. Large frum families often spend a day of their Chol Hamoed Sukkos and Pesach there. This spirited atmosphere could all crumble because of these unwanted casinos. Does this logically make any sense?
A congressional study recently discovered that crime increases dramatically within a fifty-mile radius of a gambling casino. For instance, nine years after the building of casinos in Atlantic City, crime within a thirty mile radius of the casino increased by one hundred percent!!
In Wisconsin, five thousand three hundred additional major crimes were occurring each year, specifically because of the casinos. Less serious crimes also increased by seventeen thousand incidents yearly. Additionally, the calls made to the Ledyard, Connecticut police department increased from four thousand to six thousand after opening its casino.
According to the American Insurance Institute, 1.3 billion dollars in insurance fraud is related to gambling. Subsequently, 40% of white-collar crimes are caused by gambling addicts trying to recoup their losses. And last, out of four hundred gambling addicts surveyed by Gamblers Anonymous, 57% admitted to stealing, in order to maintain their gambling habits. All these facts prove how illogical and absurd it is for New York State to legalize casinos on Coney Island.
“A casino on Coney Island would be great for the billion dollar gaming corporation, but bad for everyone else. We must work together to do everything in our power to stop the casino from coming to Coney Island,” Councilman Greenfield concluded. As a community, we must unite and fight to stop New York State from legalizing casinos on Coney Island. We must do it NOW before it’s too late.Tikva Chamani
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