Cross posted from CFO blog
“All I’ve heard is the emotional argument,” he said of the public debate about his casino proposal. Casinos, he said, will not “jeopardize the character of the commonwealth.”
Mr. Patrick, I submit that if the emotional argument is all you’ve heard, you have a serious hearing problem. Information about the downsides of casino gambling is everywhere.
He said he was neither morally nor practically opposed to gambling, noting that he used to take his mother to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.
“I get it,” he said of gambling. “It’s entertaining.”
As someone who has been intimately involved in this issue for many months, I must insist that you do not get it.
Questioned by club members after his speech about the social costs of addictive gambling, Gov. Patrick said only 5 to 6 percent of those who frequent casinos have a gambling problem, which he said is about half the percentage of bar patrons who have a drinking problem.
“We don’t tell them they can’t drink,” he said.
Mr. Patrick, I hate to be the one to break this to you – but we are not talking about an activity that is currently legal. We are talking about whether or not we want to legalize an activity that has known and serious socio-economic effects – and one which is currently illegal. And Mr. Patrick – 5 to 6 percent is not inconsequential. It is bordering on a public health disaster.
Under his proposal, he said the money set aside from gambling revenues to mitigate problems associated with gambling would be “four times greater” than any such set aside in any other casino gambling state. The money to fund the programs would come off the top of casino revenues, he said.
This of course is like promoting smoking so that we can tax the cigarettes in order to raise money for funding an anti-smoking campaign.