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Media Coverage
Richmond Eyes Perks From Casino
January 13, 2003

Saying the city owes it to citizens to consider the benefits of a casino, the City Council will spend up to $100,000 on a consultant.

"We need to ask ourselves whether we can get around the problems and get the jobs and the revenue," said Councilman Jim Rogers, one of four appointed to a special committee to pursue the question. "We would not do the public a service by making that decision ourselves."

The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Cushman and Wakefield broker John Troughton and the Las Vegas-based investor Kean Companies have proposed buying the Port of Richmond's Terminal 3 and adjacent properties for a hotel-casino complex. Investors have offered $10 million, with "impact fees" of $3 million to $5 million a year for the first 16 years of operation.

Although a range of speakers condemned gaming as a revenue source, Rogers said the availability of jobs "is also a moral issue."

"There is a direct correlation between unemployment and murder, drugs, and graffiti," he said.

"It's not just a casino that's been proposed there, it's a nice, five-star hotel," Councilman Nat Bates said.

Councilmen Tom Butt and Charles Belcher voted against the proposal. The council rejected Butt's alternative motion to spend $10,000 polling voter opinions.

Various speakers mentioned a two-part investigative series in Time magazine that showed in the majority of cases, investors, not Indian groups, reap lush profits that flow from casinos.