2007-01-08 NOTE: This page is about a 2004 issue. A number of web sites were created to discuss the issue. Now that the issue is over (the casino was denied) the sites have been allowed to lapse and are now in the hands of domain squatters. I've tried to provide links to archive.org's excellent resource, but I couldn't find archive entries for all of the pages, and what archive entries I found are often only partially functional.
A Disclaimer:This web page is about a referendum to authorize a casino in Dane County, Wisconsin. The referendum is on February 17th, 2004. So this article is both time and location sensitive. Links to news articles are likely going to expire as time passes. I'll be updating this page as I find further information that I find convincing either way.
I've been seeing the ads regarding the upcoming referendum. So I've been digging around. I had been considering voting yes. After all, it should be a free country and if people want to gamble, so be it.
However, it's become clear that the pro-casino forces are not to be trusted. They are lieing to and threatening the citizens of our county. I don't want to form a business agreement with an organization that behaves that way. As a result I'm currently planning on voting No (but more on that later).
So I've been seeing the ads from the extremely well funded Coalition for the Fair Indian Gaming and Revenue Sharing Agreements. (Even their name is confusing and deceptive. I prefer the much more straightforward No Dane CasiNO (Link deleted 2007-01-08 as the site is gone.) The pro-casino forces have chosen to summarize their argument as "Yes on the DeJope Revenue Sharing Agreements." Well chosen. It's short, to the point, and completely misleading. The key issue isn't revenue sharing. Of course everyone would support revenue sharing over no revenue sharing.
This is a referendum on authorizing casino gambling.
Now, the pro-casino forces point out that the casino could be authorized, even if the referendum fails. Ultimately the authorization on the casino is in the Governor's hands. What the pro-casino forces ignore is Governor Doyle's promise:
The proposal only needs Gov. Jim Doyle's approval to move forward. But the governor has said repeatedly he will abide by the results of the referendum.
(From this AP wire article)
Furthermore, that same Q&A actually threatens voters:
If the referendum doesn't pass, the Tribe could still get approval for casino gaming at DeJope, but - in that case - they would not be obligated to share the revenues with the City and County.
Or put another way, "vote for this casino, or we'll get the casino anyway and refuse cover the costs to the county." A threat.
All in all DeJope comes across as a bully and a liar. A casino could dramatically affect our economy and quality of life; perhaps for the better, perhaps for the worse. I refuse to place my faith in a bully and a liar regarding this issue. I can't trust these people and plan to vote no.
That said, there is still two weeks to go. At the moment I'm leaning against; the pro-casino side comes across as too dishonest. But my My "It's-a-Free-Country" side is feeling mighty tortured. I could be convinced. Think you've got something to convince me either way? Please let me know.
Some other information:
Coalition for the Fair Indian Gaming and Revenue Sharing Agreements - The DeJope funded pro-casino group
No Dane CasinNO (Link deleted 2007-01-08: the site is gone)- The primary anti-casino group
WISC's article "Dane County Casino Referendum Approaches" - Notes that the pro-casino side claims $47 million per year in benefits, the anti-casino side claims losses of $148 million per year, and the regional planning commission claims anywhere from positive $65 million to negative $100 million.
I'm been having a hard time explaining to myself why I felt I had the right to tell someone else what to do. In this particular case, why do I have the right to tell DeJope no? It should be a free country, they should have the right to run a casino. My inability to put a clear name to my feeling that perhaps something is wrong made me question that belief.
I now have a name for my concern. Externalized costs. In short, is DeJope passing on costs to the county; effectively getting benefits without paying for them? If they are, they have externalized costs and become a burden on society as a whole.
Now it's still not a clear issue. The externalized costs are fuzzy and non-obvious. Will DeJope really drive local businesses out of business? If so, at what point does it cease to be honest competition? But at least I have a name for my concern.
The Isthmus has an interesting article this week on the casino; basically putting forth that the developers have been engaging in shadowy meeting and general skeeviness to end up in this position today. Regrettably, it isn't online. What is online is The Isthmus's Document Feed including a bunch of stuff on the casino.