It's one of the first questions you ask when you hear someone wants to build a casino somewhere near you.
What's it going to do to my property value?
Sure, some people can pretend a casino is a desirable thing, but the fact remains, few people really want to live near one. Especially if they moved somewhere for the trees and the quiet and the fresh air.
In North Stonington, CT, the town next door to Ledyard, home to the Foxwoods ever-expanding mega casino...
Residential homes on main road or alternate roads leading to casinos tend to decrease in value 10 percent. Making it harder to sell and reducing the tax basis for the area.
- Source: Casino Impacts on North Stonington; Prepared by North Stonington Board of Selectmen; Nicholas H. Mullane, II; William N. Peterson; John M. Turner. Amended December 24, 2001
In Preston, another abutting town...
The impact traffic increase has had on home values in Preston is dramatic. A recent revaluation of properties in Preston as shown home values for properties within a quarter mile of a state road are as much as (20 %) twenty percent lower than a similar home that is not close t the traffic of the casino. The financial impact for Preston homeowners is approximately $6,000,000.00.
- Source:Casino Related Impacts on Preston, CT; prepared by: Preston Board of Selectman; Robert Congdon, First Selectman; Gerald Grabarek, Selectman; Thomas Maurer, Selectman: December 18, 2001.
And those are the towns next door to a casino town. The Bridgwaters, the Halifaxs, the Carvers and the Lakevilles.
After a friend in Lakeville recently had his No Casino sign stolen for the second time, an unexpected explanation was offered. It seems that in Middleboro realtors are reqired to disclose to prospective buyers the fact that a casino may be coming to town. Ah, but not so in surrounding towns.
Could those glaring red No Casino signs have been disappearing due to their tendency to break the unpleasant news to uninformed house hunters? I do recall at the BIA hearing a realtor from Lakeville assuring us that property values would be fine. Just fine.
I've heard Middleboro realtors explain that, initially, property values will sink as a result of a casino, but then casino managers will cause a demand for the larger homes and values will rebound.
Gosh, considering the population around Middleboro is about 9 times that of Ledyard, I suspect that would take a lot of casino managers.
Of course, as far as I'm concerned (and to paraphrase Charlton Heston) a casino manager can buy my house when he pries it out of my cold, dead hands.