Yesterday, the two biggest daily fantasy sports companies, DraftKings and FanDuel, came out in support of AG Maura Healey’s proposed regulations for the industry. A quick summary: Healey has proposed regulations that would require daily fantasy sports players to be at least 21 years of age, prohibit college sports from the competitions, require stronger player data protections and programs to help problem gamblers, among other requirements. For the most part, these make sense: we want to curb the harms that can come from gambling, whether it’s on fantasy sports or anything else. We should also make sure that betting on fantasy sports is reserved for adults, just like the state lottery and other types of gambling. Yet the state lottery has a minimum age requirement of 18 years (as it should be). Why would it make sense to apply a different age requirement for this type of gambling, which arguably leaves much less to chance than a scratch ticket or an entry for Powerball? Is there some sort of greater risk involved in daily fantasy sports? Or is the state just cynically trying to keep some market share among gamblers between the ages of 18 and 21? Since 18-year-olds are […]
After being alerted by the Stop Predatory Gambling organization yesterday about an amendment added to H.4110, the Bank Modernization Act ( https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H4110 ) on December 24th, a few legislators including myself attended informal session, to get a clearer idea of what exactly was intended by the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees, regarding ATMs and casinos in Massachusetts. As of Monday night at 6 pm, both the House and Senate have recessed, with neither branch taking action on H.4110, as amended. The bill remains in the House, with the next informal session being on Wednesday. I want to thank Stop Predatory Gambling and its members for raising concerns about the substance and intent of this language, and contacting their legislators about it. Many legislators, and our staffs, at the State House today spent a considerable amount trying to better understand the language of the amendment, and whether it made sense to allow the bill in its present form (amended) to pass the House or Senate, or consider taking another action. Matt Murphy of the State House News Service (SHNS) has done an excellent job summarizing today’s deliberations, so please take a look at the SHNS story below that was […]
I was recently contacted by the Grossman campaign, asking for my support for Steve’s bid for the corner office. I wrote back, telling Steve that, while I admire some of his successes as Treasurer, his handling of the Lottery — specifically, the Lottery’s shameless promotions without any regard for the issue of addiction — was upsetting and disappointing to me. I told him that I found the holiday campaign to buy Lottery tickets “for everyone on your list” particularly irresponsible. Instead, I will be voting for Don Berwick for, among other things, his stand against casinos and his support for a single-payer healthcare system. Here is his answer: Dear Mary-Ann, Thanks for your heartfelt comments. As you probably know, the Treasurer of the Commonwealth is responsible for running the state lottery that was created more than 40 years ago. The profits the lottery generates are the single most important source of unrestricted local aid for all 351 cities and towns. The money goes for firefighters, police officers, senior centers, repairing roads and a variety of other important local priorities that improve the quality of life of all citizens. We spend a lot of time and money working to support those who are afflicted […]
As Massachusetts keeps pursuing casinos as a magic salve for neglected areas, officials keep ignoring that America’s casino explosion has made each new casino far less profitable. Take Pennsylvania: Nine of the 11 Pennsylvania casinos posted slots revenue declines in July, leading to a 3.7 percent overall decrease. [...] “Harrah’s Philadelphia’s decline was surprising, given the size of the decline and the large increase in promotional free play,” [gambling analyst John] Kempf said. The casino, one of four in the Philadelphia area, has declined in slots revenue 11 months in a row, he said, and 17 of the last 19 months. Sure, casinos make crushingly poor & crime-ridden areas (like, say, Springfield or New Bedford) even more crushingly poor & crime-ridden. But there must be huge benefits, right? So what are the benefits in Pennsylvania? The gambling industry pockets 86 percent of table revenue and more than half 45% [-ed.] of slots revenue. Homeowners received an average tax cut of 55 cents per day. Keep in mind that’s average, so mansion owners are getting a lot more and 2-bedroom homeowners are getting much less. The revenue has funded an increase in eligibility & small increase in benefit for a property tax […]
It turns out that Patrick administration Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Greg Bialecki is not the only big player in the push to bring casinos to MA whose financial portfolio includes interests that stand to benefit if the casino legislation becomes law. Stan Rosenberg, who touts to constituents his status as the gambling guru (p.2) of the State Senate also owns stock in a company that could benefit tremendously if three casinos and a slot parlor are allowed in the Bay State. While Bialecki owned stock in some casinos themselves, Rosenberg, according to his 2010 Statement of Financial Interests disclosure (p.3, courtesy of the excellent Commonwealth Magazine), owns stock in Harris Corp- a major casino vendor. No doubt, casino boosters will poo-poo this and Rosenberg himself believes that even mentioning the possibility of legislators having a conflict of interest is a threat to democracy. But, Harris Corp is not some random shmoe selling peanuts to casino bars- they are an officially licensed gaming vendor in Nevada- selling extremely sophisticated and specialized (expensive) information/signage technology that is intricate to both the actual gambling side of resort casinos, and the broader entertainment/information side of their operations. To get some idea what […]
I think this editorial in the Globe by Citizens for a Stronger Massachusetts articulates one of the problems with Greg Bialecki, Deval Patrick’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development: Now, in seeking to minimize his role in the gambling bill, Bialecki claimed in an interview that he was never Patrick’s “lead person’’ on casinos and instead describes himself as “the spokesperson for the administration’s position.’’ On the day that he testified, he said, he was handed “a three-page document’’ that was “prepared by others, without my input.’’ He paints a damning picture, both of his own lack of sensitivity to appearances, and of an administration that appears to be so committed to its gambling deal with legislative leaders that it would put words in the mouth of its own secretary of housing and economic development. If Bialecki doesn’t know what’s going on with his personal finances or what’s going into the public policy he promotes, maybe he isn’t the best person for the job of secretary of housing and economic development. Unless by “best person for the job” you mean “mouthpiece for the gambling industry”, and by “economic development” you mean “an unvetted economic policy that has never solved any […]
Somehow, or maybe not, we are related. Distantly, if so. I don’t know her name. We just seem to show up at all the same wakes. This time she’s got a baby with her. He’s very well behaved, with a full head of hair and a sweet smile. “He’s got your eyes,” I tell her. “No.” She replies a little bit too firmly, “He’s got his father’s eyes.” I look around for the boy’s father but he must be in the other room with the throng of friends and relatives. We chat some more about mostly nothing, just passing the time until we can leave. And that’s when she mentions that she’s a single mom. Something connects, and I look closer at the little boy.
TIM CAHILL At least he’s honest. *Paid for by the Committee to Make Deval Patrick Look Conservative on Gambling
On an unusually hot summer night at Wonderland Greyhound Park in July of 2002, a greyhound named Die Cut raced for the last time. While rounding the first turn, the three-year-old black dog was bumped by other greyhounds and collapsed, his back legs paralyzed. In the final moments of his life, Die Cut was removed from the track and euthanized.
Last week, Wonderland Greyhound Park announced its permanent closure. There is no doubt that Wonderland – which was once the most popular dog track in the world – had a profound effect on its surrounding community over the past seventy-five years. In the wake of its demise, however, we should take a moment to reflect on all of the dogs who competed , and sometimes died, at this fabled institution.
For those of us who have been working for years to oppose the expansion of predatory gambling in Massachusetts, the last few months and weeks have brought a strange combination of horror and satisfaction. Horror, because we have seen so many otherwise reasonable — and progressive — legislators accept the misleading or downright false information that has been force-fed to them by lobbyists, racetrack owners, and secretive billionaires. Satisfaction, because the whole tawdry process — of closed meetings, illogical argumentation, self-delusion and unfettered greed — is finally being aired on television and the newspapers every day.
The arguments about the damage slot machines will inflict on individuals, small businesses, and local communities are starting to sink in, so that even long-time Democrats who have tended to think of gambling as a question of personal choice are starting to feel a groaning sensation in their guts. They are starting to remember that the Democratic Party officially voted at their June 2009 convention against slot machines in Massachusetts. And no wonder: the numbers are horrific.