Tuesday, August 07, 2007

UMASS Casino Study Neglects to Mention...


Professor Barrow, of UMASS Dartmouth, has come out with a study that suggests Massachusetts would be best served - in generating income revenue - by allowing three casinos in the state, two of which would be operated by native tribes. Huh? Maybe Professor Barrow should read my blog, where I've repeated the very basic and simple fact that Massachusetts has almost no control over the volume of casinos built in this state: either we allow no casinos with slot machines, or the federally-recognized tribes in this state will have no real restrictions against the number they'd build.

Furthermore, the study goes on to suggest that the best locations for casinos in Massachusetts would be Boston, New Bedford and Springfield, yet tribes have no reason to be compelled into building them in any one particular area. I'd find it hard not to believe that the tribe from Martha's Vineyard wouldn't want to take advantage of the summer tourism (and attract a wholly new clientele) by building a casino on the island, perhaps in addition to building one in the Springfield or Boston area.

I rarely agree with the pro-casino side, but here's one quote where I do:

Mr. Ferson didn't dispute Dr. Barrow's findings, saying, "New Bedford would have been great." But Dr. Barrow's conclusions are "theoretical and hypothetical," Mr. Ferson said. "The tribe has to deal with the reality of putting the land package together, and that didn't come together."

Thanks Professor Barrow for an interesting read: next time, add a few real-world facts to your studies of casinos in Massachusetts. The only control over them is whether they'll exist or not - and that's where the conversation has to begin. Where that conversation should end is whether or not increased revenue from casinos is worth it to begin with: that 200-600 million a year in state revenue may barely pay off the state's infrastructural costs in these projects' constructions.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember when the lottery started, all the dire predictions about the increased trash on the sides of the road, the increased attendance at Gamblers Anon, the scandals about Govt control (Joe Malone and the missing scratch tickets) ... Oh wait that did happen.

Anonymous said...

I don't really undertstand your fundamental problem with the casinos. If I remember correctly, weren't you all for Question 1, free business to do whatever they want, no protectionism, and the mom and pop stores can screw off if it causes them to go under?

What's so different about these casinos that all of the other businesses deserve governemnt protectionism. Frankly, I'm somewhat familiar with the downtowns of both Middleboro (mostly antique stores) and Palmer (not much) there's not too much there to be put out of business to begin with. Unless there are lots of restaurants and stores located outside of town, in which case they'd be mostly in strip malls and I don't really see why Home Depot and McDonald's need our protection from competition. I'm more interested in good union jobs that come with casinos than in trying to protect business owners who are paying minimum wage.

Having said that, though, I am nervous about what the Republicans have to gain from this. PP is out their spinning her little heart out with talking points that were undoubtedly handed down from her bosses higher up.

Ryan Adams said...

It's not just Middleboro that would be effected by this. If it were only one casino, I probably wouldn't have a huge issue with it. Heck, I may even have supported it (depending on specifics).

However, that's not the way federal law works. If any one casino is approved in Massachusetts, more will almost certainly follow; I'm not trying to engage in a slippery-slope argument: it's the way federal law works. So, if we allow slot machines in the proposed Middleboro casino, there's no stopping the tribe on Martha's Vineyard.

Furthermore, if two tribes have casinos, why not allow a private enterprise compete too - especially when there's already casinos and we'd be getting far more tax dollars from a non-tribal casino. So we're not talking about the downtown of just Palmer and Middleboro, we're potentially talking about Springfield, Boston, the South Coast or any other area. Heck, in Middleboro, the South Coast's entertainment small businesses would see a serious impact. There's a lot here to talk about, yet we haven't studied ANY of these issues seriously in the same vetting process that's used to decide whether or not a stop sign should be added to your residential neighborhood, or if we need another Dunkin Donuts on Main St.

Furthermore, if you think there's a lot of good casino jobs that come with them, you'd be terribly mistaken. The help is meagerly paid and often not from the area, but essentially shipped in. Yes, it may mean some jobs, but more of the Walmart variety than one offerring truly livable wages.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you guys stop kicking the Republicans, the Democrats have all the powers now. There won't be any bogeyman to blame. Let's see how our duly elected Democrats manage to screw this up. Just look at all those political hack jobs waiting in the future State Gaming Commission. It'll make the Mass Pike look small.

Anonymous said...

You've obviously never been to Martha's Vineyard - there won't be a casino built there, ever. You lost all credibility with that comment.

Anonymous said...

Does it strike anyone else as racist that all these white Boston types think it's perfectly OK for THEM to tell Native Americans how to run casinos so THEY - the Boston types - will benefit the most?

Anything ELSE they should be doing for you?

I thought the idea behind the federal gambling law was to repay tribes for broken straties. Why should they have to figure out how to keep Boston happy?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I do have a problem with that aspect of this as well. Also, aren't you being crazy alarmist with your casinos will spread like wildfire theory? There isn't enough business to support a casino in every town. I'm not aware of a rash of casinos throughout NJ outside of Atlantic City. And if people want to spend their money at the casino instead of lesewhere along the south coast, again you had no porblem with all the liquor stores going under, let them. I'm also not aware of how Dunkin Doughnuts needs approval to move on to Main St, even across from the 50 year old local doughnut shop, if they purchase a storefront.

Anonymous said...

Not really.

For any tribe to open a casino, the tribe must receive a land trust from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, which decides these things on a case-by-case basis. In its history, the BIA has never given trust if the community wherein the land is found has rejected the idea of a casino.

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