Tag gambling

Five Reasons for Opposing Expanded Gambling in Mass. — Reasons #5

In the first three postings of this series ( http://tiny.cc/BMG-Reason1, http://tiny.cc/BMG-Reason2), and http://tiny.cc/BMG-Reasons3and4), I focused on

• why expanded gambling is more appropriately described as economic cannibalism, and not as economic development;

• how a gas tax costing an average Mass. household $8-10/month — the amount you’d lose in just a few minutes at a slot machine — would create just about as many construction and ripple effect jobs as casinos … and without the delays and costly “side effects”;

• the dubious ethics of a state partnership with the gambling industry to promote the use of a product — predatory slot machines — that is designed to addict and exploit addicted customers; and

• the empty promise of “treatment” that proponents use to justify legalization and promotion of a product with a known 6-18% “casualty” rate.

In this final posting, I make the case that legalizing expanded gambling is more of a crap shoot with Massachusetts’ future than a proven strategy, especially when you take a serious, objective, and comprehensive look at the substantial costs associated with its introduction … something that the Legislature has been unwilling to do.  The full Five Reasons document is posted at http://tiny.cc/FiveReasons-NoO…  Other helpful reading is available at the excellent USS-Mass website at www.uss-mass.org.

Reason #5 – Hyped with unrealistic revenue projections and fraught with under-stated or ignored secondary costs, the introduction of casinos/slot machines is a risky gamble with Massachusetts’ future, not a solution to the State’s Budget or employment problems.  

Despite the promises of the industry and the fervent hopes of legislators, Class 3 gambling has failed to solve the budgetary problems of other states into which it has been invited:

• Casinos and slot machine gambling haven’t helped California ($19.1 billion – 22.6% deficit) or Connecticut ($5.1 billion – 29.2% deficit) or Delaware ($377 million – 11.7% deficit) or Illinois ($13.5 billion – 36.1% deficit) or Nevada ($1.8 billion – 56.6% deficit) or Pennsylvania ($4.1 billion – 16.3% deficit) or Rhode Island ($395 million – 13.2% deficit) avoid historic deficits. [www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=711]

Five Reasons for Opposing Expanded Gambling in Mass. — Reasons #3 and 4

In the first two postings of this series (http://tiny.cc/BMG-Reason1 and http://tiny.cc/BMG-Reason2), I focused on why expanded gambling is more appropriately described as economic cannibalism, and not as economic development, and on how a gas tax costing an average Mass. household $8-10/month — the amount you’d lose in just a few minutes at a slot machine — would create just about as many construction and ripple effect jobs as casinos … and without the delays and costly “side effects.” In this post, I’ll excerpt from a longer piece about what’s ethically wrong about hitching Massachusetts’ financial engine to expanded gambling, and focus on the empty promise of “treatment” for compulsive gambling.  The full text of Reasons 3 & 4 is at http://tiny.cc/FiveReasons-NoO…   Reason # 3 – Government promotion of casino/slot-machine gambling to solve our economic and employment problems is as unethical and contrary to Mass. values as promoting smoking and binge drinking to increase sin tax revenues.   Even the legislators who are backing expanded legalized gambling acknowledge that it’s a path they wish the State didn’t have to go down.  ”We wouldn’t be considering this if the State weren’t in such desperate need of jobs,” they say.  (To be […]

Five Reasons for Opposing Expanded Gambling in Mass. — Reason #2

In the first post of this series (http://tiny.cc/BMG-Reason1) I suggested why expanded gambling is more appropriately described as economic cannibalism, and not economic development.  In this post I want to suggests at least one alternative — and faster — way of creating the jobs that Mass. residents desperately need.  The full list of reasons is at http://tiny.cc/FiveReasons-NoO…   Reason #2 – If the goal is to create and sustain decent jobs, there are more efficient mechanisms.   Thousands of out-of-work Massachusetts residents need and deserve jobs as fast as possible.  Casinos and slot machine warehouses are not the answer.  Even under the most optimistic scenarios, casino developers wouldn’t be ready to put shovels in the ground for 12 to 18 months.   The desperately needed construction jobs that casino development could create will disappear after two years.  And, as per Reason #1, the jobs operating the casinos come at the expense of jobs lost at existing retail, restaurant, and entertainment businesses. To make matters worse, predatory slot machine gambling is one of the most regressive taxes possible, given the socioeconomics of its customer base.  That is, the revenue to fund the creation of these jobs comes from those who can […]

Polito Sees Limited, Focused Treasurer

As Karyn Polito told Left Ahead! today, voters will have a very clear choice among treasurer candidates. She's the fiscal conservative with a strict view of the role of the office, and not the activist-treasurer candidate.

Click the player on the jump to hear her describe how she'd handle the office. Note that she joins us at 15:25 into the show.

Having been a state represenative for a decade, she says she also brings related slants. For one, she thinks far too much goes on behind closed doors and it is “virtually impossible” for a legislator to get a straight up or down vote on a bill. She wants the treasurer's office to operate in the open.

She also said that despite her early call for debates for the office, she's constrained by the pending Dem convention. When they choose one or two candidates and find out whether they'll have a primary, she'll debate.

Murphy Wants To Be Aggressive Treasurer

Part two of our MA treasurer podcasts was with Steve Murphy. Last week, we spoke with Steve Grossman, also a Dem. We’ll speak with the GOP’s Karyn Polito on May 19th on Left Ahead.

Murphy shared some concepts with his Dem rival, but differed considerably. He was quick to point out that it was eight years ago when he ran for treasurer he first proposed that the commonwealth use a big chunk of its money to back business and jobs growth.

Click the player on the jump to listen to the podcast.

Grossman Calls for Activist Treasurer

Steve Grossman is not like other MA treasurer candidates. I predict exciting and meaningful discussions and debates.

The Democratic candidate to replace Tim Cahill came out of the chute with innovative ideas and a fully fleshed out program. He joined Left Ahead! today to describe what he has in mind. He makes no apologies for his vision of how the treasurer should act, particularly in light of the great recession, job losses and financial institution's recalcitrance.

Click the player on the jump to hear the 61-minute show.

Who voted no on the gambling bill

Here’s a map of where the opponents of the bill represent: Republicans in Red. Democrats in Blue. Areas of the state heavily dependent on tourism, such as the Berkshires and Cape Cod, strongly opposed the bill.  These reps are probably worried that Bostonians will spend their money in casinos and have nothing left for summer vacations. Another region with a lot of opposition is the liberal middle class inner suburbs: Cambridge, Somerville, Belmont, Jamaica Plain, etc. are all largely represented by reps who voted no.  It is again a testimony to the awesome power of the editors that every rep who represented even a sliver of Arlington voted against the bill. Clearly David is more feared than Deleo there. Minority neighborhoods of Boston also had considerable opposition.  There was scattered opposition in some of the secondary cities of Massachusetts, such as Lawrence, Fall River and Springfield. Lastly, Conservative opposition to the bill seemed to center around rural Central Mass.  Republicans and Democrats opposed the bill in rough equal proportion to their numbers in the House, though presumably the GOP had less pressure from the leadership.

House passes DeLeo’s gambling/$lot$ bill 120-37 [updated with roll call]


The House today approved by a veto-proof margin legislation to establish two casinos in Massachusetts and up to 750 slot machines at each of the state’s four racetracks, embracing the largest expansion of gambling since the creation of the Lottery in 1971.

The lopsided vote, 120 to 37, was due in large part to a relentless campaign for slots and casinos by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, the son of a track worker whose district includes two racetracks. DeLeo succeeded in persuading many members who voted against casinos in 2008 to switch their votes.

Indeed, two years ago, House lawmakers overwhelmingly followed the lead of the previous speaker, Salvatore F. DiMasi, a staunch gambling opponent, when they voted, 108 to 46, to kill Governor Deval Patrick’s bill to license three casinos.

Lawmakers who changed their votes said the slumping economy had persuaded them that casinos and slots represent a historic opportunity to create thousands of jobs and capture much of the estimated $1.1 billion that Massachusetts gamblers spend annual at casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

And don’t forget the punch line:

Several also acknowledged that the speaker’s power to strip legislators of their chairmanships and influence pushed them to back one of his top priorities.

“This is the bill he has cared about more than any other bill,” said Representative Ellen Story, an Amherst Democrat and member of the speaker’s leadership team who voted for the bill after voting against casinos in 2008. “My sense is that there may well be consequences for people voting against this bill — particularly people in his inner circle.”

Well, supposedly the Senate doesn’t like racinos.  So at least there’s that.

UPDATE: The roll call is on the flip.  The “no” votes:

Democrats: Ashe, Balser, Bosley, Brownsberger, Callahan, Conroy, Curran, D’Amico, Dykema, Finegold, Fox, Garballey, Guyer, Hecht, Kaufman, Madden, Malia, Patrick, Peake, Pignatelli, Provost, Rodrigues, Rogers, Rushing, Sanchez, Scaccia, Sciortino, Smizik, St. Fleur, Torrisi, Turner, Walz, Wolf; Republicans: deMacedo, Evangelidis, Polito, Smola.

Write your rep and let him or her know how you feel.  I just did.  (Thanks Sean!)

The “Circle of Gold”

I used to teach Junior High School mathematics.  At some point—it must have been the late ’70′s or early ’80′s—yet another one of these chain letter schemes hit this state and for a short time was wildly popular.  And to counter the inevitable criticism that this was a pyramid scheme, the chain letter was marketed as “not a pyramid but a circle”—the “Circle of Gold”, because it would supposedly never end, but keep going around and around.  I never heard anyone say what this really could possibly mean, but I heard any number of people repeat this.

It was indeed very popular.  For a few weeks the teachers’ room conversation was dominated by people who had bought into this, sold copies to their acquaintances, and were awaiting the big payoff.  And then a few weeks later, all of a sudden, no one spoke about it any more.  It was like it had never happened.

Casino Boycott Petition Circulating

Want a chance to speak up against the push to ram casinos and slot machines through the legislature?  Then check out this petition that is gathering lots of steam: