Haven’t got a lot of time this morning — but, honestly, is this really such a great idea?
State Treasurer Timothy Cahill plans to propose today that the state sell the rights to as many as three slot parlors across Massachusetts…. It would not create the vast number of construction or hotel and restaurant jobs that resort casinos would, making key union support uncertain…. But what they lack in amenities, they make up in immediacy: Slot parlors are often housed in quickly erected, warehouse-like structures that could supply a revenue stream at a time when Massachusetts is suffering its worst budget crisis in decades.
Oh, that sounds great. ”Quickly erected, warehouse-like structures.” That’ll really get the tourists flocking.
And, as mentioned in today’s Globe story, slot parlors elsewhere — as in, a few miles south in RI — are doing so badly that they’re on the verge of being taken over by the state. Even the super-luxe casinos in Connecticut are experiencing hard times. Yet Cahill’s folks seem unaware of that, offering instead numbers that “are significantly higher than the governor’s 2007 estimate.”
That strikes me as crazy talk. Don’t you Beacon Hill folks get it? There is no magic bullet. This kind of attitude:
“We all know we’re in a recession. This will allow for immediate revenue,” one of the treasury officials said. “It’s cash, and it’s quick cash.”
is going to send us right down the crapper in short order. Draining disposable income from the folks who happen to live near these “quickly erected, warehouse-like structures” and sending it to “private equity and hedge-fund investors and slot machine operators like Scientific Games Corp. and GTECH Corp.,” even if the state gets a cut, strikes me as exactly the wrong thing to do. Let’s just all grow up and figure out the responsible, long-term solution to these problems, shall we?