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Lansing casino opponents make voices heard at community forum

Developers of Lansing’s proposed casino faced a small, but passionate group of opponents last night.

One opponent of a Lansing casino says the state capitol risks becoming known as a center for “pot shops, strips clubs and gambling” if a casino is built downtown.

The pot shops and strip clubs are already there.   But dozens of people at last night’s public forum worry a downtown casino will bring with it increased crime and problem gambling to Lansing.

“Our community should be built on biblical principles.  And I am here to stand on that today that we will reap what we sow if this project goes through…there will be consequences,” casino opponent Laura McMurtry told Lansing city council members during last night’s public forum at the Southside Community Center.

Opponents also fear a casino will siphon money away from other Lansing businesses.

Developers say they understand the opposition’s concern.

Bill Martines is the managing director of Lansing Futures LLC, the company developing the casino project. He says the opposition’s fears are overstated.

“For every comment…where there’s a negative comment… I can find instances all across the country where there’s a positive effect on the community as a result of having a gaming/entertainment enterprise,” says Martines.

The Lansing city council will vote later this month on the proposed casino project.

The federal government must also give its approval.

Numerous lawsuits are expected to try to stop the Lansing casino project from moving forward. The project is also facing strong opposition from Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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