On October 7, the City of Norfolk replied to a request for records reflecting consultation between the city and local military officials on the impacts of the proposed casino on military populations.
The city’s response: No consultations, discussions or other activities have occurred between the City of Norfolk and its representatives and any representatives of local military commands on the affects of the casino on the military population.
The City established an entire office dedicated to conducting liaison with area military commands. A 2019 Military Times article notes up to 56,000 active service members, or 4.1% of the total force, meet the criteria for gambling disorder — presenting additional risks to financial health, readiness, security risks, suicide, and other mental and behavioral health concerns.
So as the city planned to place a multimillion dollar casino in the middle of a military community hosting about 83,000 active military members, plus the supporting civilians, reservists, and family members, wouldn’t it be fair to expect the city to liaise with area military commanders to determine impacts on military readiness, security, and force availability? Especially since the city hired a well-paid member of the city’s senior executive team for this very purpose?
The city’s approach: “No consultation, discussions, or other activities have occurred…” Nothing. Not a word.
Add this to the list of concerns regarding the city’s lack of due diligence on this project. This particular aspect is shameful in the manner with which it breaks faith with the military community. Vote NO on this casino deal.