Survey Says Choctaw Casino could have Negative Impact

By: Kelly Bryant

The casino being built in Jones county has been causing controversy for several months.  But now, researchers at Mississippi State have gotten involved. A non partisan social science group at MSU conducted a survey on the social and economic impacts the Choctaw casino could cause. The results outlined in the survey indicate only negative results. Cal Callen, the spokesperson for the Coalition for Family and Community Values, which strongly opposes the casino, explained from his point of view, what the results show.

"Statistics tell us that a lot of the clientele will come from about the 35 to 50 mile radius which means that's going to be a drain in our economy. And then in addition to that, they are not speaking with local officials to deal with, what we know will be expenses. Infrastructure, crime rate, all those different things that will happen when they get it finished."

The study states issues sparking from construction costs, to square footage, to traffic going up by 15% which will impact infrastructure. On top of that, the study indicates that the amount of jobs available will not increase much, and most positions will be allotted to the Choctaws themselves.

One of the main issues the coalition has with the casino is the social impact the study indicates it might have.

Callem said, "On moral grounds we have a problem with it because we think it brings in a lot of bad things, crime goes up, particularly burglary and aggravated assault. Divorce goes up. Bankruptcies go up, all these things are negative. The positives of casinos are usually associated with resort destination casinos, which this is not."

As for tourism, the study indicates that most casino-goers will be from inside the state, and thus, not bring in the tourism that bigger, more resort-like casinos on the coast provide.

Callem concluded, "The Choctaws are our neighbors, we're not against the Choctaws. We're against this casino. We think it's a bad idea for us, and we think it's a bad idea for them. "