The Margaritaville story continues. With the yes or no vote coming up in just over two weeks, I have tried to get all of the facts that I can in order to help the readers of My Bossier make an educated decision.
Some concern has been expressed by commenters over the involvement of the city in the development. As previously noted, the city has to be involved in a couple of ways.
First of all, they owned the land just north of Bass Pro Shops where the casino and hotel will be located.
Second, the city will have to provide infrastucture for the development, as it would for any other development, be it a shopping mall, church or whatever.
The earliest projected costs, and at this point they are just projections, is about $5,000,000 for water, sewerage, a lift station and an intersection providing access to the casino/hotel. This would be recovered in projected taxes in a matter of months.
Another benefit that is showing up already, even before the vote, is that the other players in town are already stepping up their game. From physical improvements to existing casinos to better comp offers in an effort to cement their player bases, the proposed competition is already reaping some benefits.
Bossier City casinos are the city’s second largest employer, trailing only Barksdale Air Force Base. The casinos currently employ more than 3,500 people compared to Barksdale’s 10,000 plus.
Margaritaville will add an estimated 1,200 more positions.
Since casino gambling was approved in Louisiana in the 1990’s, the state has benefited by billions in tax dollars, and local governments across the state in hundreds of millions.
These are just facts, not a sales pitch for the Margaritaville development, although I have said that I support it. Some people believe that it will shut down or cripple other casinos. I don’t share that view.
If you are opposed to gambling through your moral or religious convictions, I have absolute respect for your opinion.
The fact is, however, that this is a legal and legitimate business in Louisiana and as such, the market should be allowed to operate freely.