Does Tuscaloosa Need A Casino?
The skinny answer for me is yes, let me tell you why.
It's far-fetched but imagine hotels and motels booked out every weekend NOT during football season, Tuscaloosa's economy having an extra $2 million in it's pocket, local jobs would be made and people would have another reason to come to town besides Crimson Tide sports. The town would be thriving.
Gambling is illegal in the Yellowhammer State, but the amount of good a casino in Tuscaloosa would change the lives and lively-hood of the people here in T-Town. Let's compare Tuscaloosa with a city about the same size and population with a casino. The city is Council Bluffs, Iowa. The population is 71,000 which is about the same without the student population at UA. The closest city to Council Bluffs is Omaha Nebraska about an hour away, Tuscaloosa's closest city with a large population is Birmingham about 50 minutes away, if you're speeding. Two very similar cities that love spending money. From living in Omaha and living near Council Bluff's most casino attendees are from Omaha and not from Iowa, bringing in a huge outside revenue stream.
In a article from the Des Moines Regiser from a year ago,
The casino's in Council Bluffs raked in $404 Million in one year. The casinos paid about $82.8 million in state taxes, plus another $2 million in taxes to Council Bluffs. The city's mayor, Matt Walsh, told the Register in November that gambling is key to the city's growth. In addition to taxes, customers spend money at hotels, restaurants and gas stations.
Imagine an extra 2 million dollars invested in Tuscaloosa, wouldn't that be grand.
But for now, gambling is illegal and a no-no, let's hope Alabama turns a new check and changes that very soon.