Urban City Gambling

Urban City Gambling (1993)

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Themes: Sports and Entertainment | Urban Challenges |

Guests: Rev. E.D. Cobbin, Theo Broughton, Ted Gatzaros
Host : Cliff Russell
Producer : Tony Mottley


Summary: Host Cliff Russell moderates a sometimes heated discussion among panelists Theo Broughton, a representative of Citizens For Casino Gambling; the Rev. E.D. Cobbin, of Citizens Against Casino Gambling; and Ted Gatzaros, a local businessman who was promoting casinos and who became a founder of the Greektown Casino.

At the time of broadcast, a ballot referendum on the issue was scheduled to go before city voters. Detroit voters had rejected casino gambling three times before - in 1976, 1981 and 1988 - but Mayor Coleman Young and others had supported gambling as a way to add jobs to the struggling Detroit economy in an era when the U.S. auto industry was in decline.

Gatzaros says the Greektown casino, if approved, would create 4,200 jobs in the casino and an additional 11,000 spin-off jobs in bars, restaurants, hotels and other businesses surrounding the casino. But Cobbin says casinos would not be good for the city, and says casino gambling in Atlantic City, N.J., "has put that city into ruins."

"I am not only concerned about jobs for now, I'm concerned about our future generation," Cobbin says. "They'll come out of college looking for a job and all they'll find is a gambling hell-hole."

Gatzaros says Cobbin's critique of Atlantic City casinos is not accurate, and Broughton says that casino opponents offer no alternative to provide the jobs Detroit needs because of the declining auto industry.

"There's nothing wrong with developing a convention and tourist industry in this area," Broughton says. "We no longer have the auto industry."

Prodded by Russell's questions and omments from viewers' phone calls, the panelists touch on other key points: concerns that casinos will promote gambling addictions; comparisons with other forms of gambling, such as the state's lottery and suburban horse-racing tracks; concerns about keeping money in the city in the face of proliferating Indian casinos in northern Michigan and plans for a casino in Windsor, Ontario, just across the Detroit River; and concerns over whether black Detroiters would actually be hired by the casinos.

In both the details of the argument and the intensity of the panelists' positions, the program provides an intriguing snapshot of a major city's struggle with a sensitive political, social and economic issue.

Related Production Materials held at MSU Libraries, Special Collections:
Box 7, File 11, Urban City Gambling – February 1, 1993 – Show # 2414
Box 15, File 20, Casino Gambling – 1988


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