Cross posted from CFO blog
Often when you see a report about Governor Patrick’s plan to place casinos in Massachusetts, you will see some mention of the negative effects of casinos as well. Without looking too hard, I found these:
The average person hears “small percentage” on the one hand, and “$400M in revenues” on the other hand and concludes that the benefit of a casino outweighs the cost.
So what is a “small” exactly? In Governor Patrick’s world, small is 273,000 Massachusetts residents1. That is the number of people that will be directly affected by compulsive gambling – and let’s not forget the collateral damage of the people around them. Using even conservative numbers, this tiny number of 273,000 people will have direct costs of $546 million dollars2.
Depending on which study you believe, the number of compulsive gamblers and associated costs may vary. Fine. Let’s pick a number, and factor it into the cost versus benefit analysis of a casino. All we’ve had so far is exaggerated benefits, a glossing over of the costs, and no real public discourse on this important issue. Hopefully Casino Free Mass will help give us all some public discussion.
Regardless of the dubious benefits, I don’t see how we as a state can put tens or hundreds of thousands of our citizens at risk.
1,2 – National Gambling Impact Study Commission cited in Valley Advocate article