While Colorado has enjoyed an economic injection of $2.4 billion since legalizing recreational marijuana, they’re primary competitor for tourists has been scenic view and mountain slopes.
When recreational marijuana starts tomorrow in Nevada, they are feared by some to cut into casino profits.
The casino industry was opposed to “Question 2” which approved the recreational use of marijuana, and their public excuse was that they didn’t not feel approving the drug would improve tourism.
However, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson donated $2 million to a group named “Protect America’s Children” that unsuccessfully fought to defeat the referendum to decriminalize pot use and possession for those under the age of 21.
Adelson also fought a national effort against online gambling to “protect the children.”
Like many of the ultra-wealthy, Adelson (who is worth an estimated $28.9 billion) was likely protecting his personal holdings in the casino industry.
The question remains, why would the gaming industry by opposed the legalization of marijuana?
Many studies have linked marijuana use to “problem gambling” and even “pathological gambling.”
Many have speculated that casinos simply will not be able to immediately profit from the sale of cannabis in their casinos due to many factors.
Unlike a cigar store that can open up easily, only a certain amount of slots will be provided by the state for cannabis dispensaries.
Additionally, since marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, casinos would run into banking issues in the event they profited off of the plant.
Finally, carving out non-smoking sections has been a priority for casinos in the last several years with even mega casinos like the MGM Grand going smoke free. Legalization would create yet another zone to carve out.
But the issues above are minor in comparison to the main reason why casinos gate marijuana legalization – it cuts into their profit margins.
If tourists are spending their dollars on joints instead of blackjack, or cush instead of craps, the casinos will see profits burn away.
Expect an intentional effort to highlight every negative incident related to marijuana legalization and a push to reverse that will be bought and paid for by casino owners.