Impact of gambling in your town

NORTHWOOD, Iowa –  For more than 15 years the Shade Tree bar has been in the heart of downtown Northwood, and for owner, Teresa George, there is never a dull moment.

“It’s been very interesting for all these years.  You learn a lot, you meet a lot of new people, you just got to go with the flow,” said George.

In which she’s been doing just that.  Even with Diamond Joe Casino miles away.

“Oh it’s going to be great, you’re going to increase your sales, and everything will be wonderful.  I said no it’s not, it’s just going to be the same.  people are going to come through town looking for it, and they’re going to go up there do their thing and come home.  That’s exactly what they’ve done,” said George.

A study recently done by the Spectrum Gaming Group and Strategic Economic Group is releasing their latest stats on how much casinos like Diamond Jo impact counties.  The study reveals that casinos are spurring what they call “new growth. They’re proving not to be taking business away from local bars or restaurants within their county. The study also shows crime and bankruptcy were at an increase.  Researchers say but that’s not a surprise.

“Whether there’s a casino or no casino, bankruptcy will exist.  Bankruptcy has existed. From a social economic standpoint crime has not risen,” said Kim Pang.

Pang, general manager of Diamond Jo Casino, says he’s very happy with the results of the study.  He says it just shows what their main goal has been overall when it comes to building within a community.

“Proven what we’ve said it’s going to do. Essentially, bring development to rural Iowa.  It helps worth county, it has really helped the community,” said Pang.

For George, she feels all in all her town and others have hit the jackpot.

“It’s been a good thing for the community, for the county.  It’s really good. As a business we get a little bit here and there.  We get what we get, just take what we have.”

Eight different crimes were looked at as part of the study.  That included robbery, simple assault, and embezzlement. One reason they stated crime is always up in casino counties is due to visitor population.  One interesting fact they also found was that more DUI’s were given to people outside the county where a casino existed.

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