Ten years ago this August, Firekeeper's Casino opened for business in Calhoun County.  It took ten years of planning, and before that, there we a lot of people sounding alarms about the negative impact it would have in our community.   While there will always be people with gambling problems, the good seems to outweigh the bad in Calhoun County.

A new study by WalletHub shows Michigan has the lowest percentage of adults with gambling disorders.

Wikipedia lists 25 Michigan Casinos, including the one near Battle Creek, one in New Buffalo, Wayland, Mount Pleasant, Manistee and three in Detroit.---all within driving distance of Calhoun County.

Among the findings in the report:

Gambling Addiction in Michigan (1=Most Addicted, 25=Avg.):

  • 21st – Casinos per Capita
  • 16th – Gaming Machines per Capita
  • 50th – % of Adults with Gambling Disorders
  • 21st – Gambling-Related Arrests per Capita
  • 37th – Legality of Sports Gambling
  • 46th – Most addicted to gambling

There will always be people with gambling problems, but many argue they'll gamble on the internet or in illegal establishments if given no other choice.   Meanwhile, casinos like FireKeeper's are working to improve the community with initiatives like the "FireHub".   The casino bought an historic firehouse in Battle Creek, restored it, and turned it into a restaurant, food pantry, and meeting place.  They're growing food for local schools and using it to teach kids.  They support our homeless shelter, and contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars into local government and roads.

The Casino and Hotel also offer top-shelf entertainment in the form of music and comedy.

So far, Michigan has handled legalized gambling far better than most states.  Let's hope we do the same with legalized Marijuana.