Great Falls Casino, a Boom to the Job Market or a Problem in the Making?

The new casino may be getting positive press for job creation, but will it turn out to be a benefit to Sioux Falls?

Gambling has become a quick answer to a number of economic problems. In South Dakota it even pays for our schools. But Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson noted, “(Gambling) involves simply sterile transfers of money or goods between individuals, creating no new money or goods. Although it creates no output, gambling does nevertheless absorb time and resources. When pursued beyond the limits of recreation, where the main purpose after all is to kill time, gambling subtracts from the national income.”

Others can point to the millions in revenue that casinos take in renew hopes that Great Falls Casino in Larchwood, Iowa might bring to Sioux Falls some of the windfall.

While Great Falls will likely employ many residents of Sioux Falls, it will also relieve many Sioux Falls residents of their money by way of the “house always wins.” With many South Dakotans crossing state lines to spend their money in Iowa, it is likely that the state of Iowa will be the real winner. Taxes and increased tourism benefits the state, at the peril of those nearby.

Las Vegas may look like a jewel in the desert, but it is a jewel purchased with money made somewhere else. The money has to come from somewhere. I just hope it isn’t from Sioux Falls in any noticeable quantity.

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