Wednesday, April 19, 2006

132: “More Disinformation from Gettysburg Casino Investor”

Barbara Ernico is one of the well-heeled investors in Chance Enterprises, the investment group with a pending license application for a gambling hall in the Gettysburg area. In the past year, since the project was first announced, Mrs. Ernico has distinguished herself as the Chance spokesperson who best represents the No Casino Gettysburg group. Yes, that is correct: those opposed to the gambling hall proposed for Gettysburg.

Ernico has repeatedly ventured onto message boards and letters to the editors pages in several newspapers and presented “Life with Gambling According to Barb”. With the attitude she has, if she lived in France, she would be elected President -- she has that towering arrogance of ignorance that is apparently a prerequisite to office of President of France (A legacy from Marie Antoinette? Is there anyone more out of touch with the French people than Jacques Chirac? “Let them eat cake!”).

Mrs. Ernico has, as we have illustrated here in the past, publicly told bald-faced lies, distorted the truth, and made threats of harm if the casino doesn’t go through, among other miscues, malapropisms and gaffes. [See
53: “Threats and Lies in Gettysburg”, among others.]

Now, Mrs. Ernico has outdone herself, this time in a letter to the editor of the Hanover Sun, published today, April 19, 2006. It is reproduced in its entirety here, but broken up by paragraphs. Her text is in red.

Let’s take this one paragraph at a time. Mrs. Ernico wrote:

Casino will practice good citizenship
The Evening Sun
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
When Crossroads Gaming Resort and Spa operates, citizens will have no idea that we exist. Communities with a casino such as our resort do not feel a negative impact. One Civil War buff who visited Vicksburg, Miss., 10 years after four casinos were operational never realized casinos were there.

Where to begin??!?!? What a stupid sentence! “…citizens will have no idea we exist”! That’s is a brilliant business sentiment to have. Obviously, she has no idea what she is saying here. Then comes an incredibly dishonest claim: “Communities with a casino such as our resort do not feel a negative impact.” All the statistics in the world except those put forth by the gambling industry say otherwise. It is ludicrously stupid to make a statement like that. And then to back it up, she cites a single, unnamed source to say, "One Civil War buff who visited Vicksburg, Miss., 10 years after four casinos were operational never realized casinos were there.“ One person visits Vicksburg and doesn’t know there is a casino there, let alone four of them? I’ll bet he did not visit Vicksburg to play the slots! Want to bet on that, Barb?

Casinos do play a major role in historic preservation. Some casinos market historic sites and some contribute financially to the well-being of those sites. Good community citizenship is a value held by many casinos today. Ours will be one of those.

Talk about ludicrously stupid things to say! What casinos play a major role in historic preservation? Name one, please?

More important is the information conveyed subtly in her second sentence. She writes: “Some casinos market historic sites and some contribute financially to the well-being of those sites.” As we have been predicting here for about the past month, once the casino license is granted for the Gettysburg area the investors will change the name back from Crossroads to Gettysburg Casino, Spa and Resort. [Putting Straban Township on billboards advertising the casino is a nonstarter, but everybody knows where Gettysburg is located.]

Ten years after Atlantic City became a center for gambling, the federal government began regulating gambling. "Organized crime" left. One leader in Indiana stated, "Guido and the boys are gone." No investor in Crossroads Gaming Resort and Spa is involved with organized crime. *We are local investors who want the fruits of the gaming industry to come to Adams County which deserves and needs its fair share.*

Good grief! The Federal government has no jurisdiction over gambling in America except when it has to do with Native Americans. The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs is the regulatory body with control over gambling on Indian Reservations. Any other gambling is a matter for the states to control, or not, as the case may be. Apparently Mrs. Ernico is impervious to current events or she would have picked up on that by the news of the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Let’s look at some facts. According to the website
Atlantic City: History:

Following the war, Atlantic City's tourist trade tapered off as economical airfare to the exotic Caribbean and Florida became available. Without the proceeds of the summer trade that sustained the city year-long, Atlantic City sank into disuse and widespread urban decay. In 1974, New Jersey residents voted not to approve a gambling law that was on the ballot. In 1976, the resolution appeared again but was restricted to introducing gambling into Atlantic City in the hope of reviving the resort's economy. The second resolution was approved and Atlantic City became the first city in the eastern half of the U.S. to offer legal gambling. The first casino/hotel, Resorts International, opened in May 1978, and was quickly followed by 10 others.

So, Mrs. Ernico is talking about organized crime leaving Atlantic City by 1988. Perhaps ‘Guido’ has left Atlantic City. However, in an April 6 article in the Reno Gazette-Journal:

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. [AP] New Jersey authorities have accused 11 alleged members of various Asian organized crime syndicates of pedaling counterfeit cigarettes, Ecstasy and marijuana on Atlantic City casino floors.

The indictments, announced Wednesday, accuse the suspects of selling 32,000 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes, 25,000 Ecstasy pills and 80 pounds of marijuana to undercover state troopers.

The charges, which include conspiracy to commit counterfeiting, distribution of controlled dangerous substances and money laundering, leave the suspects each facing more than 20 years in state prison and fines of $200,000 if convicted.

Apparently Guido’s gone and been replaced by “Wo Fat”. Perhaps Barbara Ernico is still living in 1988. She obviously is pretty far behind. Street gangs are now “organized crime”. And prostitution is apparently enough of a problem in Atlantic City to warrant a special about it on HBO recently.

Communities that have one gaming facility, as Adams County will have, do not have social ills that are associated with Las Vegas. Crime does not increase; it generally decreases. Divorce, child abuse and even addiction, do not increase.

She did not mention it but one of the social ills resulting from the presence of gambling is bankruptcies. Lo-and-behold, our very own Federal Reserve Bank system commissioned a study about the presence of gambling halls and bankruptcy and discovered that there was a higher incidence in states with gambling, and indeed, in neighboring states. See the report at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Do Casinos Export Bankruptcy?

Slots gaming is a form of entertainment, like going to a concert, a sporting event, or other entertainment. Americans work hard and they enjoy play. They set a dollar limit when they gamble and the majority do not spend more than their limit. Our industry is prepared to identify and help the 1 to 2 percent who develop problems.
*Barbara Ernico, Camp Hill*

Editor's note: The writer is an investor in the casino project.

This final claim is perhaps the most ludicrously ridiculous of all. What is the entertainment value of sitting in front of a machine for hours on end, pumping dollars into it, and pushing a button repeatedly. You lose $18, and on the 19th button push, you win $40! Congratulations. Now you will sit there and lose $120. And you will walk out of there ‘entertained’?

At a concert, or a ball game, you buy your ticket, and in exchange you are legitimately entertained for a few hours, by music, by a ball game, or perhaps by a movie. And you take specific and unique memories of that experience away with you. You have made a fair (in most cases) exchange for your money. At a gambling hall no such exchange occurs.

As for that “1 to 2 percent who develop problems”, Mrs. Ernico’s statistics are as phony as her euphemism for “gambling addicts”. Here are some statistics from an Iowa study:

  • 5.4%(over 150,000) of Iowa citizens are considered pathological or problem gamblers
  • Over 20% of Iowa’s population is now directly negatively impacted by gambling
  • With each new casino Dr. Rachel Vohlberg’s Iowa study showed problem gamblers increase over 200% within 50 miles of the casino
  • For each gambling employee, there are 14 addicted-problem gamblers in Iowa
  • Bankruptcy rate of increase in Iowa can be directly associated with availability of casinos
  • Teenage gambling addiction is the fastest growing addiction. The Iowa State study of 1996 said “teenagers feel we as adults are providing this for them.”
  • Gambling addiction causes direct increase in divorce, abuse and embezzlement.

Please visit the Statistics website and take a good look around. It will chill you to the bone. There’s a lot more than the above there.

Just today, in fact, a story surfaced in Harrisburg of a very popular, and successful young lobbyist indicted for embezzlement of funds from a non profit organization he had founded. The money, at least $160,000 in a very short time, was used to pay gambling debts. Read the story at

Finally, please note the two sections marked off by asterisks (*), in Mrs. Ernico’s letter.

*We are local investors who want the fruits of the gaming industry to come to Adams County which deserves and needs its fair share.*


*Barbara Ernico, Camp Hill*

Local? Barbara Ernico, and the rest of the Chance Enterprises investors, with the exception of David LeVan, do not live in the Gettysburg area. Nor do they live even in Adams County. [Camp Hill is in Cumberland County, north of Adams County.]

If they were to move, it will be after the casino license is granted, and it will not be to Adams County. Florida, Mexico, Ireland, or the US Virgin Islands are the likely next permanent homes of the investors. They will sell their share for a 500% profit and head out almost immediately. LeVan will probably go to his permanent home out west.

Perhaps now you can understand why Barbara Ernico as an investor, is probably the best thing to have happened to the No Casino Gettysburg movement yet. Her outrageous claims and distortions are laughed at here. It is sad that someone that self-absorbed should not take stock of herself and simply stop. But, ‘that’s entertainment’.


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