Wetlands.be brings you a directory of information about casinos and other types of entertainment venue being built on wetlands – i.e. an area of land that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, thus increasing the challenge of creating building and infrastructure developments.
On this page you’ll find Wetlands’ outline of the current global trend of casinos and other entertainment venues being allowed to be built on wetlands, as well as a brief look at some of the pros and cons to this niche sector. We have also provided a couple of examples of existing casinos that have successfully been built on wetlands.
Why are casinos and other entertainment venues being built on wetlands?
The origins of casinos and other forms of gambling being held away from dry land can be traced back several decades. Around the 1980s, when casinos in many states were illegal (particularly in the south) an alternative to getting around these regulations was to simply create a casino on a riverboat and then set sail with players aboard.
While the authorities soon became well aware of this legal loophole, riverboat casinos were allowed to continue operating as they were not seen as a threat due to their limited geographic and economic scope; i.e. there could only be so many boats with so many players on board at any given time. Local governments did, however, create regulations as to how many ‘cruises’ each riverboat casino could carry out each year, as well as limits on the stakes that could be placed during each game.
Fast-forward three decades, and we are now seeing local authorities relax gambling rules a little, with new laws stipulating that the ‘floating casinos’ no longer have to actually move along a body of water – but do still have to be built off dry land.
And this slight change in the law has given rise to wetlands casinos – a sort of hybrid of riverboat casinos and land-based casinos.
As well as skirting laws and regulations, in certain cases, building casinos on wetlands also enables native Americans to utilize land that was once of little use – attracting tourism and increased revenue for their communities.
A successful casino – or even just the prospect of a large new casino being built – can also attract a whole range of other entertainment venues to the same vicinity, including bars, restaurants, cinemas and hotels.
A look at the pros and cons of wetlands casinos
The issue of using of wetlands as the location for casinos and other entertainment venues is certainly a controversial one, with a number of key advantages and disadvantages associated with such use.
- The pros…
The main argument for using wetlands as grounds for casinos looks at the overall economic benefits that development brings to groups of people, communities and different levels of government.
Opening up the use of wetlands for entertainment venues increases the value of this land, creates permanent and semi-permanent jobs and attracts further investment into the region in the form of restaurants, hotels and so on. Some good examples of how wetlands have been redeveloped with new casino complexes include Gun Lake Casino near Detroit as well as The Rivers Casino in Pittsburg.
- The cons…
The main argument against developing wetlands inevitably looks at the environmental consequences, with the habitats of fish, birds, rodents and other small mammals put under threat, as well as damage to a huge variety of plant life.
Such disruption can destroy whole ecosystems; however, the counter-argument to this claim involves the definition of what ‘wetlands’ really is. Developers claim that fragile natural areas, such as marshlands and Everglades, are not actually being subject to development, but rather low-impact riverside areas that only loosely fit the definition of ‘wetland’, thus not being home to any significant wildlife population.
To read more about the wetlands debate, please check out our ‘resources’ section here on www.Wetlands.be. Alternatively please also take a moment to get in contact with us should have you have any questions about the wetlands.be site.