Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today's Casino Hearing Post - on BMG

As I said earlier in the day, I went to the casino hearing today.

I wrote about it at BlueMassGroup, as well as gave a live, on-the-air report on today's LeftAhead (fast forward about 27 minutes in).

I'm going to write a big-picture blog for Ryan's Take soon, but I just wanted to present what went on today at BMG, along with a little bit about what I learned so far. So read BMG to get the scoop. To sum up that knowledge, I'm confident that only 1 of 3 things can now happen regarding casinos:

1. The House, yet again, defeats an attempt to legalize slot machines.
2. The House legalizes casinos, but creates it's own bill to do it.
3. The House doesn't legalize casinos, but gives the state's race tracks the ability to become "racinos," but foolishly that opens the door for a mega-resort casino in Middleboro or elsewhere.

Personally, option number 1 is still what's probably going to happen: there are at least 12 people, out of 19, who have committed to being opposed to casinos on the committee that matters - the one that can recommend it to the entire house, or essentially kill it if it doesn't (unless a majority of house members vote to bring it up to a full vote - but is that seriously going to happen with a Speaker opposed to casinos?). That committee is also chaired by Representative Dan Bosley, the champion (along with Sen. Sue Tucker) on casino issues. Most importantly of all, the House hasn't supported casinos in the past and has a Speaker willing to whip people into shape to make sure it won't in the future.

All that said, I'd say option 3 is more likely than option 2, though still not very likely at all. I was almost shocked to see certain House members be more concerned about the Race Tracks than the owners of the Race Tracks. The distinguished gentlemen and women of our state house on that committee may have been generally receptive of casinos, but I don't think a single one of them would be if it meant the race tracks would close in favor of larger resort casinos, even if ownership stayed the same. It was a particularly hilarious line of thought too, considering that the Suffolk Downs people kept talking about how they're now the only thoroughbred horse track in New England - and home to the "legendary Seabiscuit." (Memo to Suffolk Downs peeps: Seabiscuit's been dead for decades - maybe that's not exactly the best marketing campaign to stay relevant nowadays, huh?).

So, more on my thoughts later - and less on Seabiscuit.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

It just shows how little the average voter means, 12 people can hold up a bill and let it die. I want the casinos, let's have a statewide vote and see what the majority in the state wants, and go with that. Instead we have a few crooked politicians on Beacon Hill who decide for us. And it's not just this issue, but many others.

Ryan Adams said...

Sir, we live in a representative democracy. It's not "crooked politicians" that hold up legislation like this. Firstly, the House has voted down slot machines on several occasions as an entire-body. Secondly, we elect our representatives in this democracy, we don't vote on every single bill that comes up and we care about. There are literally thousands of bills - and no way that the average voter could vote on all of them.

There is a process to bring about non-binding laws using the ballot process. However, because casinos are only drummed up by casino lobbyists, not enough people cared to actually get it on the ballot.

If you'd like to live in a total democracy, where everyonen votes on everything, I suggest you build yourself a time machine and travel to ancient Athens. But be forewarned - that Democracy only existed for a short while, until the rest of Greece took it apart after the Peloponesian War. Also, they didn't let citizens new to Athens vote, either.

Anonymous said...

Obviously we can't vote on every decision. When there is a big issue which doesn't have any time constraints on it's resolution though, it wouldn't hurt to put it on the next ballot. The casino issue has been around for a long time, why not put it on the next ballot, then you can see how the state really feels.

mrlimo said...

Hey Ryan,
Do we get all the negative impacts from CT/RI without any mitigation.
Of course we do, If we use that 50 mile rule Anti's throw out there.
Its allready here why not reap the monies from it and put it to work in MA.
Some is better than none.
You know as well as I do this is going to pass. 5 years there will be resorts.
www.middleborocasino.com

Anonymous said...

Just go to Foxwoods, etc and look at the license plates. Mass people like to gamble, let em do it at home.

Ryan Adams said...

Why should I know this is going to pass? It's not very likely, actually, given 2 things:

1. The committee that votes to send the bill to the entire House, or not, is chaired by Rep Bosley - an ardent opponent. 12 of the 19 members are so far against it, with only 3 favoring it.

2. To bypass that committee, a majority of the House would have to vote to bring it to the floor. Given the fact that the Speaker is against casinos, that's not especially likely.

3. If it could even manage to get on the House floor, a majority of House members have voted against casinos in the past - and by a fairly wide margin.

Now, as far as losing revenue, as I've already said, casinos don't bring much new revenue - it's mainly a redistribution of the revenue Massachusetts is already churning out. We shouldn't want to redistribute that income, given the fact that currently it's mainly going to local, small businesses and local employees. Casinos are a drag on the economy and hurt local communities in innumberable ways. The bottom line is it's bad policy for Massachusetts.

Anon 12:10,

Who's to say what a "big issue" is? Almost any issue that comes up is going to be an issue that a large chunk of the population passionately cares about. Cell phones in cars? Small and petty issue - right? Well, I think a lot of people would like to be able to vote on that, right? The bottom line is there's a process to get bills on state ballots - and the casino industry hasn't used that process, despite the fact that they could quite easily pay to buy the signatures to get on it.

Anon 5:33 - there innumberable ways people can gamble at home. Gambling isn't the question, sir. They can go play keno, bingo, the state lottery or any number of other things. If they want to play slot machines, almost the entire state can already get to full scale casinos within minutes: Lynn, Rhode Island or Connecticut. Lynn's Horizon's Edge travels daily out to sea, where it's completely legal to gamble in any form. Then, there's this state's many race tracks, if that doesn't make you happy enough. Or people can play poker at home with their friends - and no one would know the difference. As you can see, gambling is so easy to do already that most people can legally gamble from within walking distance of their home. The question then becomes if we want to a) support policy that hurts our communities and b) if we want to allow gigantic resort casinos, that destroy local economies. I say the answer to both is a resounding no.

MrLimo said...

I predict Tribal Resorts will be here with in 5 years.
With or with out State approval.
I predict it will pass at the State level. The Anti Resort/Casino cry you hear at the state house is just a smoke screen to keep people like you happy.
hey have a nice Christmas.
www.middleborocasino.com

Ryan Adams said...

Well, I've been going to Beacon Hill and seeing through the smoke. The fact that Beacon Hill has (recently) voted against slots in the past and has an anti-casino Speaker now is also a hard reality. The fact that you've essentially called me blind on this subject is actually not only hilarious, but ironic.

The Wampanoags already have the right to open up a glorified Bingo Hall if they gain federal approval. That's their right and there's nothing we, as a state, can do to stop it. However, because it would only be a Class 2 casino, it would be much smaller in scale and not include any casino's bread and butter - traditional slot machines. The Bingo Machines that Twin Rivers uses, by the way, are facing a federal ban already.

No developer is going to build a facility costing over a billion dollars if it doesn't include traditiona slot machines. Since my main argument is that Mega Resort Casinos, which include dozens of restaurants, bars, clubs, over a thousand hotel rooms, huge malls and entertainment galore is what hurts economies the most, I wouldn't complain much about a Bingo Hall. It doubt it would be significantly worse to the economy than than a Race Track - and we already have four of them.

mrlimo said...

Hey,
Im a gambling person.

Want to bet! LOL! Have fun Ryan I like reading your blog.

You are the only real anti I know.

I respect you for the time and effort you put in too your studies on the subject.

I still think its enevitable.

Take that money back from CT/RI thats the biggest Pro Argument and the least written about by the anti crowd even DiMasi cant argue we need to do something.

carverchick said...

Huh???

Take that money back from CT/RI thats the biggest Pro Argument and the least written about by the anti crowd even DiMasi cant argue we need to do something.

Oh, so according to you, Mr Limo, we should embrace the twisted logic of legalizing class III gambling which creates more compulsive gamblers to get more money to treat compulsive gambling....

How about we don't legalize an industry that creates more compulsive gamblers, puts economic strain on the host and surrounding communities, promotes drinking and potential driving, destroys natural habitats, threatens home an business owners (including farmers who are prevalent in this region), and instead promote education and smart industrial growth...we have some of the BEST colleges in the entire country for God's sake...let's keep our graduates in the state!! They want, need and deserve employment opportunities in engineering, science and technology sectors. Casinos provide no employment opportunities for college graduates who want to excell in math, science and technology...a solid employment foundation that this State is famous for....they don't call Boston/Cambridge Genetown for nothing....

mrlimo said...

Quote
threatens home an business owners.

How about the economy the way it is now is threatning my business, my home and all our way of life.

What about the people who will work and benefit from a resort. I know you think we are all slimy money hungry people.
Not respectable business owners trying to survive.

Quote
How about we don't legalize an industry.

How about getting on the front lines and criminalize an industry that is really killing our society,costing us billions after billions Alcohol!! wheres the uproar I wonder how many anti casino people have a drink after there meetings, just one and get in a car and drive home.

Hmm! Sit around and try and stop a Hotel resort but at the same time put everyone at risk and dont think twice about it.

Carver I know you have your reasons for not wanting it but please you are preaching to the wrong person.

Casinos,Bars, liquor stores do not create the havic you are saying people not taking responsibility for there own actions are the cause.

Please do not throw out addiction. I have to wonder all the monies that go back to the town of carver from the lottery that helps provide services for your town How much gets put into a Gambling addiction fund LOL!

Or any addiction fund, Wheres the uproar! I want all lottery money to go towards addiction sites I do not care about how much your taxes go up no more fire trucks or nothing let lottery money go to the addicts give them the treatment they deserve.
LOL! do that and you will see what people say about addicts.

carverchick said...

Hey Mr Limo,

If you want to go and fight the law regarding alcohol....go right ahead, more power to you! If you want to lobby to have all lottery proceeds go to addiction....well, even more power to you. I am preaching to the wrong person? Yeah, I know I am, as are you. Casinos will bring nothing good to this State, at least I have not seen any good arguments that they will. Again, why legalize an industry known to cause serious problems? If you are so concerned about our economy then perhaps you should set up your limo business in CT or RI.

You said "I know you think we are all slimy money hungry people."

Nope - never had I said anything like that, nor would I. Your words that you try to shove in my mouth. Save it for your site.

mrlimo said...

Ill tell you agian, I do not care if a casino, gambling even comes here I care about a 1500 room resort.

I never put words in your mouth, I said you THINK that.

You are twisting words Too so there!

Thats why MA is so screwed up because if its something you dont like you tell us too move to another State and guess what most smart companies do!

I wont, Ill survive or go into some other business.

Im just sick of people useing the addicts or addiction as a sounding board, Towns and Cities dont help them now, so you act like a casino is going to be a drain on society with addictions. THEY DONT HELP ANY ADDICTS NOW!

They spend all the monies allocated for addiction on other town services.

Kids are dieing out there with Heroin and pills listening to you talk as long as its not a casino your all right with the world.

I just have to wonder how many of the Antis Drink and drive.

One glass of wine with dinner get behind the wheel of a car You have a problem in my eyes.

Ryan Adams said...

MrLimo,

I appreciate the fact that you care a lot about this... and I know the limo business can be tough (my dad used to actually own one).

All that said, we have to create policy that's good for Massachusetts. I have no doubt a casino could be good for your business, if the casino-resort didn't contract that out ahead of time, of course. Unfortunately, a casino would be bad policy for almost every other sector of the economy in Massachusetts: it would be bad for local restaurants, bars, pubs. It would be bad for any clothing stores, hair salons. It would be bad for anywhere that people that people spend non-essential dollars, because that's money now going to the casino as opposed to other places.

Just look at Atlantic City. Before there were casinos there, there were over 225 restaurants, bars, pubs, entertainment places, etc. After casinos came in, there were less than 60. I want to create strong small businesses, which are key to not only fueling the economy, but also into creating better communities. Why? Because people who own small businesses live in the area. They put their kids in public school. They're invest in their community every day. I know that better than most, given that my family background includes two parents who owned small businesses. I also know that it's tough work and very risky business, hence why I'm trying to protect the vast majority of them from facing a mammoth beast they simply can't compete with.

Anonymous said...

We should have outlawed Home Depots then, to protect the local hardware stores. And close down the Walmarts, because that corporate money doesn't stay local.

Anonymous said...

I simply love Online casino, I play every day and I keep coming back for more.
I am not a problem gambler because I earn enough money to be able to support
myself and continue my online gambling time. I truly enjoy the relaxation time I
get and the ease with which can use and access online casino's. I hate the
stigma that is associated with gambling online as I view it as a release, an
escape and real "me" time. If it were to become a problem then I have no doubt
that I could and would simply cut online casino from my daily vocabulary. As it
stands though, gambling is simply something I enjoy and the internet and online
play are just a good way to access casino's. Playing against the house means I
never have to worry or feel about actually taking money from someone else as it
is only the online casino that would be paying me off for my wins. Talking about
wins, I have had some great wins in my online gambling career – my biggest so
far is $5000 on roulette, on one spin. I am fit, happy, healthy and I love life
and the online casino is just part of my every day existence and escape.

Anonymous said...

Technology is ever increasing in the online world and Online businesses are
springing up every second to get on board the information super highway - "The
World Wide Web". We already have online auctions which have played a major role
in efficiency for everyday consumers to get bargain based products from all
areas of the world, but now we are faced with a new dilemma, Online Gambling and
online casinos. As a concerned member of the human race, I'm not sure that
Online gambling would be a legitimate business that benefits us as a society.
The big questions is, are the positives of online gambling greater than the
negatives?

Casino, Pokies, Bingo, slots and gambling centers all around the world are
already the cause of many family breakdowns and financial woes. Now we're taking
it to the next level – going online for our gambling. With the rate of young
adults participating in global gaming communities, by the billions, Gaming
companies are encountering a massive profit / money making facility just by
traditional arcade game play – which is absolutely fine. However, now parts of
the world are investing heavily in developments of Online Gambling and Online
Casino software to target global hopefuls in chances of winning their Million
dollars or their Austin Martins. How are we to monitor companies that provide
online gambling facilities? In some countries under developed countries, hungry
scheming predators are lurking about waiting for the next 'big idea' in ripping
consumers and the wonderful world wide web offers to do that. Where else can you
build a money making machine that can directly be linked to an offshore business
account in the British Virgin Islands and be able to people off? Online Casinos
are a major threat to our global socio economics and are a nuisance to the
Online community and the community at large. If I want to gamble I'd spend my
money and go to Las Vegas, instead of typing in my Credit card details and stare
at my laptop hoping to win money. Say no to Online Gambling and Online Casinos.
I sure did.

Anonymous said...

The mathematics of online gambling are always against the individual. There
is no way that a professional gambler could ever say otherwise and yet how come
there are people that make money every day playing and gambling online every
day? Simply, they employ good strategies that work more in their favour than the
average person. The main goal of the professional gambler is to either target
weaknesses in online gambling or online casino's or play the other people off
and win their money. The professional gambler is not bothered by the winning or
the losing they simply focus on how they can win more and the best methods to
employ in order to get to their goal. Bet big to recoup loses is a good method,
a simple and yet effective method which can be employed on the roulette table by
betting on red or black in roulette. The method is simple, if you lose then
double up the bet and repeat until you win, then go back to the original amount
and then repeat until you are winning consistently. Another method on roulette
is taking a section of the wheel, like betting on a row of numbers next to each
other. That way if the wheel lands in a region consistently then there is
greater chance of it being on one of your numbers instead of on random text.

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