President of the Friends of the Boardwalk, Todd Dobrin, has come out swinging against the proposed casino in Coney Island.
We don’t need casinos in order to thrive. In fact, casinos — like the one proposed by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz — are a threat to our way of life.
Dobrin writes of his family’s long-standing history in the area and of the area’s history with gambling.
“You may know the scene back then from HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ Beginning in 1860, Brighton Beach and Gravesend were casino hubs. For decade after decade, it was a glamorous scene, but one with a very dark underbelly,” says Dobrin.
The casino has not been approved yet, though there are a great many signs that commercial gambling is on the horizon for the quickly developing Coney Island. Governor Andrew Cuomo has hinted at his desire to bring casinos to New York City, and he has received the support of several others.
For Dobrin, the situation is dire. In the article, he cites research that showcases the ease in which gambling becomes an addiction if one lives within 10 miles of a casino. He cites school children, those who attend places of worship and residents of the area as potential victims if this plans goes through.
I’m not a ‘Not-in-My-Backyard’ type; Coney Island can and should be developed further. But it must be developed responsibly.
Our youth centers and senior centers are seriously underfunded. Some of them are no longer open. Our neighborhood is in dire need of after-school programs and vocational programs. The infrastructure that will support the development in this community is constantly being tested.
Think of all the jobs that we could create if we focused on these issues and not on the dream of a shiny new complex that specializes in throwing our money down the drain.
As this contested issue comes closer and closer to home, residents and local leaders will inevitably have to take sides. It’s interesting to see who stands where when it comes to casino development and neighborhood gambling.