NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
Mr. Harvey, welcome.
MR. HARVEY: Moderator, thank you. I'm a retired clergyman, and I find it very difficult to go from 25 minutes to three minutes, and so I ask your indulgence, please. I'm going to speak faster than I usually do and not yell.
I've lived in Atlantic County now for four years and am a card carrying member of Harrah's and some of the other casinos.
I find it interesting to live here, and I have been studying casino gambling and its impact upon our community in many ways.
My Atlantic City history began here when my in-laws came on their honeymoon in 1926. They went home singing about Atlantic City's boardwalk where life was peaches and cream.
Well, times change. We've heard of that already. Peaches and cream were replaced by joblessness and poor housing and crime and drugs and guns and institutional races and all of those things that have plagued all kinds of societies.
Then in the '70s casinos came, and they brought promises, quick fixes. Unfortunately, neither the churches or government or casinos, as well as the other agencies of our community, were able to solve the problems, but the beat went on.
Sociologists tell us it takes one generation for a good thing to become a bad thing. Well, we have lived through that generation. Now what?
We know that now instead of riches casinos are places where sometimes people win, but most times people lose their money. Then the holding companies or the stockholders or whoever take the money out of town as fast as they can. See Donald run. Run, Donald, run.
MR. HARVEY: The truth of the matter is Atlantic City, which has been a cash town for others, has found it very difficult to fend for themselves. So one begins to wonder who's in charge here. Is it the people who live and work hard in Atlantic City? Is it labor? Is it management? Is it the mayor? Is it city council? Is it the superintendent of schools? Is it the governor? Is it Senator Gormley? Is it the legislature? Who's in charge? Steve Wynn in Circus Circus?
Live here is not the "big easy" for many people. Work here does not bring nobility to the human spirit for many of the employed, nor the unemployed as well.
Unfortunately workers are being threatened with downsizing and all those other issues of our society.
I'm told casinos will survive as long as we write numbers and as long as the prosperity of our society produces large amounts of discretionary income, but you and I know that so will the addictions and so will the diseases and so will the thousands who drain their bank accounts, et cetera, et cetera.
Let us, therefore, as people together, labor and management, churches and casinos, community and all people, work together for a community where once again maybe we can see some peaches and cream.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you, Mr. Harvey.
MR. HARVEY: -- once again we see a new community.
CHAIRMAN JAMES: Thank you very much.