We Need Your Help at Next Saturday’s (June 6) Mass. Democratic Party Issues Convention.
At next week’s Democratic Party Issues Convention (Saturday, June 6 in Springfield), opponents of legalizing predatory slot machine gambling in Massachusetts will mount an effort to pass a Resolution “oppos[ing] the legalization of slot machines and any similar efforts to promote addictive and predatory gambling as a means of raising public revenues.” (The full Resolution is printed at the end of this posting.) We need your help collecting delegates’ signatures. You don’t have to be a delegate to help.
[Why do we describe slots as “predatory gambling”? Read below and check out this youtube video: www.tinyurl.com/predatoryslots ]
How Can You Help?
We need your help in Springfield collecting Convention delegates’ signatures:
(a) to bring the Resolution up for a vote,
(b) to demonstrate broad-based support for that Resolution, and
(c) to build a network of supporters who can be marshaled later this Fall to oppose State legislation legalizing predatory slot machine gambling, and licensing slot machine warehouses at the Dog Tracks (which will otherwise shut down when the ban on greyhound racing takes effect).
If you can come to Springfield Friday evening , you can attend — and collect signatures at — these pre-Convention parties:
Fri. 6 to 9 PM LG Tim Murray Reception, McCaffrey s Public House, 1171 Main Street
Fri. 7 to 10 PM Black and Latino Caucus Reception, Montenia’s, 137 State Street
Fri. 8 PM to 2 AM Kick-off Reception, MassMutual Center
Fri. 9 PM to 12 AM Young Dems Reception, Shakago’s, 23 Hampden Street ($5 donation)
If you can be in Springfield early Saturday morning , you can attend — and collect signatures at — two Saturday pre-Convention breakfast events:
Sat. 8:30 AM AFL-CIO Breakfast with Secretary Galvin, Ballroom A
Sat. 8:30 AM Welcome Breakfast with Congressman Capuano, Ballroom B
As delegates enter the Convention building, we hope to create a visible presence — and collect more signatures. Once delegates are seated (by Senate district), we hope to have enough people to collect signatures from each Senate district.
Contact Fred Berman (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-501-1404) if you can help.
You don’t have to be a delegate to help! (You do have to pay $25 for a guest pass if you are not a delegate and wish to enter the Convention building.)
Finally, some of us will stay for an hour or so after the Convention to attend — and collect signatures at — the reception sponsored by the Progressive Dems of Mass, from 4 to 6 PM at Café Lebanon (1390 Main Street).
What’s Wrong With Legalizing the Slots?
Supporters of legalizing slot machines will talk about the potential for new State revenues from gambling, and will make claims about preserving jobs at the Dog Tracks… and they’ll be joined and generously funded by giants from the gambling industry who are waiting for the opportunity to prey upon Massachusetts residents.
Although Massachusetts desperately needs additional revenues, legalizing slot machines is NOT the answer. The only real winners when Dog Tracks are turned into slot machine warehouses (Treasurer Tim Cahill’s description) will be the owners of those tracks and the gambling industry:
Slot machine gambling will largely siphon off revenues from the Mass. Lottery, and away from neighborhood businesses — bars, restaurants, etc. — that depend on the discretionary spending of local residents.
Legalizing and promoting slot machine gambling is as ethical a way to raise State revenues as promoting smoking — and lacing the cigarettes with nicotine to make them more addictive — in order to increase collection of taxes on cigarettes.
Turning the Dog Tracks into slot machine warehouses will preserve few, if any, race track jobs
The social problems attendant to unleashing the new generation of mesmerizing and addictive slot machines — which conveniently take credit cards, so you can lose money you don’t even have… — outweigh the potential additional revenues from gambling taxes.
Slot machine parlors won’t create the jobs that advocates of giant resort casinos have touted, and they won’t attract tourists from other States. They’ll simply suck money from neighborhood residents and businesses, and enrich the owners of the Dog Tracks that Mass. residents voted to close in last year’s election.
Whereas the Democratic Party has a long and proud tradition of advocating for social justice, working for policies that promote the public health, and fighting to protect citizens from exploitive and predatory business practices;
And whereas modern slot machines use neuroscience-informed technology to mesmerize and entrap gamblers and to keep them playing until they have exhausted their resources (“playing to extinction”);
And whereas medical research has documented the highly addictive nature of the brain’s chemical reactions to slot machine stimulation;
And whereas licensing and promoting such addictive, predatory gambling technology for the purpose of raising State revenues goes against the aforementioned values and principles for which the Democratic Party has long stood, and is at odds with the ideals that underlie our Party’s honorable and consistent struggle to end the deceptive and predatory lending, marketing, and pricing practices that have pushed so many families to the brink;
And whereas legalizing slot machines would erode participation in the Lottery and siphon away from local small businesses the discretionary spending on goods and services that they depend on;
And whereas the development of slot machine parlors would neither create significant new jobs, nor increase tourism in Massachusetts;
And whereas evidence from other states indicates that the long-term costs of gambling addiction — increased substance abuse, increased crime, increased family discord and dysfunction — outweigh the short term benefits of licenses and gambling revenues;
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Massachusetts Democratic Party, as a matter of both principle and policy, opposes the legalization of slot machines and any similar efforts to promote addictive and predatory gambling as a means of raising public revenues .
(Submitted by delegates Bob Massie, Tom Larkin, and Fred Berman.)