The proposed casino in Lewiston could have a negative impact on retail business, including those a couple of miles around it.

Casino opponents often say a casino can suck a community dry. I believe that is generally true. Casino officials want their patrons to spend a lot of time at their facility, so they continually strive to be all-inclusive.

For example: Foxwoods has never stopped adding services since it was founded in 1992. It is like its own little city, with a food buffet, restaurants, hotels, jewelry shops, clothing stores, live theater, movie theaters, main event centers, etc. While all that may sound exciting, there has been a negative impact in the surrounding area. The only reason retail business has survived Foxwoods is that Connecticut has a population of more than 3 million people, with large cities throughout the state.

What is the population of Maine? What is the population of Lewiston-Auburn? How many large cities does Maine have?

And what about jobs? How many small businesses would lose good employees because they can’t afford to be competitive against the casino wages?

I, for one, making my living in the food business, am especially worried. Typically, casinos offer several dining options, including low-priced buffets. Casinos owners don’t want their patrons to leave for any reason, especially if they’re hungry. How many customers will that cost my business?

Business owners in L-A should think about any negative impact a casino could bring to their businesses.

John M. Beatrice, Owner of ZAPIZZA! Market and Eatery, Auburn

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