Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No, No, No, No, NO, NO, NO

We don't need to solve the local aid problem off the backs of the poor, thank you very much.

SHNS (sorry, can't link):
Advocates for slot machines at the state’s four racetracks seized Tuesday on renewed worries over local aid to sound the horn for revenue generators they say could solve almost the entire projected deficit. After House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi on Monday estimated that the state might have to slash local aid by 10 percent in fiscal 2010, Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein said Tuesday that legislation she files perennially would raise roughly $1.1 billion in gross revenues, citing a study commissioned last year by state Treasurer Timothy Cahill.
There's a thousand better ways to solve our budget problem than Racinos, which will only hurt this state's economy. They're only a redistribution of the money already spent in the Massachusetts economy. With all due respect to Representative Reinstein, I had much better ideas here.

Racinos are the worst possible way to introduce something that doesn't belong here in the first place, slots. It opens the doors to real casinos, which can't be taxed by the state and which will put the racinos out of business in the long run - something the Wonderland and Raynham folks know, but don't care about. They know they'll have years to rake in the dough in the meantime. The sooner this industry is dead, the better - 2010 and the end of the dog tracks can't come soon enough.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to add a few more 'Nos' to your comment!
Only the brain dead or feeble minded think slots are a solution, but why doesn't it surprise anyone?
Maybe we need a Constitutional Amendment to force this ridiculous option off the table.

Blogger Shark said...

It is sad that these elected officials want to cut of their nosed despite their faces. Redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich (or even state government) is a lousy idea.

Ryan said...

One of the many absurdities, one I didn't even mention, is the fact that all these racinos and even resort casinos are either going belly up or flailing in the poor economic winds right now. And we're supposed to think they're the solution to our problems? Do they think we were born yesterday or something?

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

Rep. Reinstein, like every other person who proposes casino gamblings tries to sell you on the benefits while conveniently ignoring the costs.

For starters:
- Regulatory costs
- Court costs
- Police/File/EMS
- Roads/infrastructure
- Losses in lottery revenue
- Losses due to displacement/substitution
- Losses due to problem gambling such as:
-- Bankruptcies
-- White color crime
-- suicides
-- divorces
-- other addictions

I never ceased to be amazed at how many people seem willing to accept this industry without doing a real cost benefit analysis.

Anonymous said...

In the same vein, maybe we should stop the lottery. Who do you think buys the lottery tickets, people in Wellsley or the people in Springfield. If they didn't have the lottery they would have more to spend at their local bodegas, helping their local economy which is something Ryan always advocates. And the odds of winning are worse for lottery games than in the casino.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Casino revenue is way down across the entire country. But don't just take my word for it.

It would be a disastrous time to consider opening the doors to this irresponsible industry right now.

I like the Constitutional Amendment idea. If George Washington had any idea of how much power gambling interests would gain over state governments in the centuries after the Revolutionary war, he might have made such an amendment a priority.

He wrote that gambling is a:

...vice which is productive of every possible evil, equally injurious to the morals and health of its votaries. It is the child of avarice, the brother of inequity, and father of mischief. It has been the ruin of many worthy families; the loss of many a man's honor; and the cause of suicide. To all those who enter the list, it is equally fascinating; the successful gamester pushes his good fortune till it is overtaken by a reverse; the losing gamester, in hopes of retrieving past misfortunes, goes on from bad to worse; till grown desperate, he pushes at everything; and loses his all. In a word, few gain by this abominable practice (the profit, if any, being diffused) while thousands are injured.

Anonymous said...

I guess they didn't ban it because the Continental Congress used gambling to fund the American Revolution. Ben Franklin and Alexander Hamilton were on board. Don't legislate to prevent peoples stupidity. If you constitutionally ban it then ban the state lottery, little league raffles and church bingo.

Blogger Shark said...

"Don't legislate to prevent peoples stupidity."

That may be true, however you should not encourage or legitimize people's stupidity either by way of profiteering or using it as a source of government revenue.

Anonymous said...

Then you advocate getting rid of the state run lottery? If you do great, you're consistent. I'm for legalizing slots, I'd much rather spend $20 bucks in a penny machine than buy scratch tickets. I do both currently ( I'm not addicted and use it as entertainment), but at least going to the casino I occasionally get a "free" buffet.

Ryan said...

A few things...

First, slot machines are far more addictive than scratch tickets and other state lottery games. It isn't even close. The rate of problem gamblers literally doubles when a casino is located within 50 miles of their home - and the bulk of that addiction is from slots, where casinos earn around 70% of their profits off the backs of around 30% of their costumers... who aren't the wealthy elite.

Second, I don't know where I stand with the state lottery. Part of me doesn't like it; part of me understands that some gambling is indeed inevitable and therefore we ought to create a few state-run ways of doing it that are less addictive and which profits can be used to mitigate the costs of rehabilitating problem gamblers and local communities for the loss of money that would have otherwise went into the local economy.

Finally, it's a whole lot easier to stop something than to remove something that's already there. Massachusetts has unfortunately become addicted to its state lottery system, one of the most 'successful' systems in the country. I recognize that I probably couldn't get rid of it even if I wanted to - though, if the vote were up to me, I'd seriously consider it, or at least consider scaling some of the games back (for example, the $20 ones). On the other hand, casinos and slot machines don't exist in this state, so I have a much better shot at preventing them from ever existing in this state. Given that they're much worse on the local economy and create many more problem gamblers, I'm glad I still have the ability to try to block them and have been able to help by pushing important stories on why we shouldn't allow them. No matter how you slice it - from a community or economic standpoint - resort casinos and slot machines just don't make sense.

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