Saturday, December 15, 2007

Did Someone Mention Casinos?

I know, I know - all I seem to talk about is the little mammoth casinos that could couldn't, but it's not my fault. We have important hearings coming up both before Christmas and after. So, of course, it's going to be on my mind.

I'm bringing up the dinging and the losing again, briefly, since there's a good Eisenthal report on it, as well as because Representative Bosley wrote a stellar comment the other day in reply to one of my own. Casinos, in fact, are not inevitable - a point he drives home. Some have been concerned that a Class 2 casino, one that isn't allowed slots, black jack, roulette and other games, would still be able to have "bingo slots," and figure that's basically the same thing as slots. Think again. Emphasis mine.
The difference between "bingo slots" and slot machines are that the bingo slots actually have to play game of bingo. In other words, they are still bingo games and as such are slower than slot machines. Second, you are playing against the rest of the players and not against the House, so the amount of players determines the size of payouts. Since they are less lucrative and slower than slot machines, I would question whether they will be as popular as other venues for those who have choices over where to gamble. Also, the National Indian Gaming Commission is actively considering changing the rules to ensure that these machines are only legal where slot machines are legal and that could change the outcome of this issue.

The issue of inevitability is, in my opinion, the fallback position of those who have run out of legitimate arguments on the economics of gaming in the Commonwealth. I also agree that Casino Gambling is not inevitable in the state. The Wampanoags do not have a reservation in Middleboro. The federal government will have to make a determination as to whether to give them land in trust in that area and that is not a slam-dunk. The state and surrounding towns will weigh in on this issue. Second, the tribe will still need backing if it is to construct a casino. If the state doesn't allow slot machines (which are between 67-70% of a casinos take on average), will a financial backer come forward on the hopes that the legislature will legalize these in the future given that they have not in the past and the market may be saturated in the near future? Third, the use of bingo slots would have to stay the same and not change as the National Indian Gaming Commission is deliberating. Fourth, the state has the option of challenging all aspects of this in court. That means that it will take many years just to get to any action by the tribe. If I were a betting man, I would bet that all these things will not go in the tribes favor.

So, repeat after me: casinos are not inevitable. Casinos are not inevitable. Not only is bingo-slots a "lame" game, according to my sister, but they're less profitable for casinos and, it appears, can't offer any flashy rewards like traditional bingo (since you're playing against other people, not the house). Most importantly, when it comes to bingo slots, their time may very well be numbered. Casinos are not inevitable, no matter what any developer would have Massachusetts think.

Yet, not only are casinos not inevitable, but Eisenthal makes the point that casinos actually face an uphill battle to be legalized in this state: 12 members of the committee that matters when it comes to casinos is already against Governor Patrick's plan, only 3 of them lean toward it (with 4 undecideds). Not only that, but it's chaired by the champion of sanity on this issue - Representative Dan Bosley. And Bosley has the Speaker's support, when it comes to this issue. Inevitable my arse.

Now lastly, go read my BMG post on casino numbers - or the lack thereof - and be sure to comment.


Anonymous said...

The inevitability of casino gambling was crammed down the throats of Middleboro voters while they endured paid goons waving signs, knocking on doors to intimidate, numerous harrassing phone calls daily, paid non-residents in orange tshirts booing at the Town Meeting from Hell, ballot box stuffing, bombardment with outright lies, and much else.
It was dirty politics like none other because casino gambling is lucrative --- ONLY TO THE INVESTORS. There's too much money involved for the few well-funded international investors - Kerzner and Wolman.
Let's hope Massachusetts legislators aren't bought by campaign contributions and casino dazzle the way Washington allowed itself to be bought.
Let's defeat this and move on. We have more pressing issues to address.

carverchick said...

Casinos are not inevitable...casinos are not inevitable.

You have hit target. The arguement that casinos are inevitable is a desperate attempt to get people to give up fighting them. We the citizens do have a say about what is or isn't inevitable in this State. What happened in Middleboro over the summer is quite shameful...bullying and scaring people into agreeing with something they clearly don't want in their town...yes, in this chick's mind, the non binding vote does count -it is really the only vote that does count....and the voter's said NO CASINO.

I really believe that our Legislature sees the fallacy of so called casino profits for this state. Factor in all the social, economic and environmental impacts and you have a recipe for disaster.

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