Don’t bet against gambling’s benefits

I am extremely disappointed in the lack foresight by our two local government officials.

State Senator John Eichelberger and State Representative John McGinnis do not seem to realize that a great opportunity is staring them right in the face with a chance to bring a casino to this area. Blair County is in a perfect location for a new casino.

If you look at a map, there are no Pennsylvania casinos located within two hours of Altoona.

As someone who occasionally travels several hours to a casino, I realize what a great asset it would be to have a casino in the middle of the state here in Blair County.

We would have people coming from State College, DuBois, Clearfield, Huntingdon, Johnstown and Bedford to enjoy the casino and spend money locally at restaurants, hotels and shopping areas. This would give our community a chance to create much needed jobs for our citizens.

I have a difficult time understanding why these two leaders are so anti-gambling. I guess these two believe they are the ones who are chosen to establish the moral compass of the community.

However, they need to realize that this is not the 1950s and people’s opinions are much different today. Casinos were seen as illegal and taboo, but times change and people’s attitudes change regarding activities like the lottery and casinos.

I would be willing to bet if they traveled to Rocky Gap Casino in Cumberland, Maryland, on a Friday or Saturday night, they would see many of their constituents having fun, enjoying themselves, spending money at the restaurants, staying at the hotel and buying gasoline on their trip.

When these people leave Blair County to travel to other areas to a casino, they are taking money earned in Blair County and are helping to create jobs for those other communities.

It is time for Eichelberger and McGinnis to realize that this money could be used here in our community to help grow our local economy.

The adult citizens of Blair County do not need Eichelberger and McGinnis to dictate to us their beliefs about gambling being immoral when it is legal in Pennsylvania.

On the Republican Party website, it states that one of the beliefs of the Republican Party is “families and communities should be strong and free from government intrusion.”

If Eichelberger and McGinnis are true Republicans, they need to begin to support viable economic opportunities for Blair County, not just act as though they are our moral compass of the community.

John Chesney