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Permanent Casinos are Vital for the City's Economic Progress

28 November 2001

Momentary. Interim. Ephemeral. Temporary. These words are all more or less synonyms for one another that infer uncertainty. Each of these words functions under the understanding that it will only be utilized for a defined length of time, and then will disappear and give way to words that convey more stability. Enduring. Timeless. Everlasting. Permanent. If temporary is used over and over again, doesn't it itself become permanent? As we approach the end of the year Detroit just cannot find a way to push temporary to the side and implement the steadiness so necessary to the City with respect to its public policy on casinos.

This week, current Mayor Dennis Archer requested that temporary casino facilities receive temporary agreements extending into 2002. If the Council grants the extension, the project of producing permanent casinos will be passed on to Mayor-elect Kwame Kilpatrick and the new City Council. With no land to build on and no promising leads in the property search, the City has to settle for another temporary fix.

Mayor Archer's attempts to cluster the casinos on the Detroit River brought many of us visions of a burgeoning and beautiful City on its way back. Of course, we found out that it really was too good to be true. The City could not come to reasonable terms with the owners of the river front property who apparently felt that their burned-out, broken-down area was actually a pot of gold. From this point on the issue of where to erect permanent casinos became a permanent discussion, seemingly elevating the temporary facilities to permanent status, (at least temporarily). Without land for the casinos to be built on, Mayor Archer is left with only one way to deal with an issue that stuck with him throughout his stint as mayor: temporarily extend the agreements with the temporary casinos.

It doesn't seem possible to find a permanent fix to this problem in the final 48 hours of the current City Council's political service, particularly when it has been an issue for the better part of three years and nothing has come to fruition as of yet. However, this is an issue that Mayor Archer and the current City Council can still effectively address. They can assist in laying the groundwork for a permanent solution in their short time remaining. It is an issue which allows Mayor Archer and Mayor-elect Kilpatrick to work together with the current and newly-elected members of City Council in order to get something positive done for Detroit and its citizens right away. The addition of permanent casinos to the City will complement the wonderful work that has already been done with the restored Fox Theatre, the new Comerica Park, the soon-to-be Ford Field, and the plethora of businesses ready to return Detroit to destination status. The City's political figures have the opportunity to assure everyone that temporary will continue to suggest short-term and yield to permanent as it should.

The City of Detroit must find a way to move beyond continuing extensions and instability and get construction of the permanent hotel/casinos under way. Not only will the permanent facilities earn considerably more tax revenue for the City, they will also draw both tourists and business travelers to Detroit. Concerts, conventions, cuisine, and casinos will be only part of the entertainment available to those coming to Detroit. After all, the expanded facilities and hotels have already been promised and will surely be necessary for Detroit to host the 2006 Super Bowl. If City officials do not move forward with respect to the permanent casinos, and get the hotels built quickly, they may soon find out the hard way that the NFL's decision to bring the Super Bowl here was also only temporary. This truly would be a travesty and a major step backward in the City's economic progress. Let's hope everyone involved can put politics aside and move quickly to do the right thing for the City's future.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com