Here's what he had to say in his email:
I have decided to co-sponsor and support the slot machine legislation for several reasons. The most significant to me, is that our state is losing possible revenue to Connecticut and Rhode Island to the Massachusetts residents who cross the border to gamble. However, I understand the compelling reasons against the slot machines and I do appreciate your concerns about gambling addiction.This is very disappointing. A lot of people, including progressives, worked very hard to get Bowles elected. He was on the short list of many progressive organizations for their focus and attention.
Here's what I find most disturbing: he recognizes that there are "compelling reasons" to ban slots, yet doesn't think those important reasons are good enough because of a small chunk of change we're losing to Connecticut. He's willing to put a few million dollars he thinks we're losing to Connecticut ahead of the life savings of families in the midst of the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. Nice.
But let's tackle those economic questions, since he's so willing to ignore the tens of thousands of lives slots in Massachusetts would ruin. First of all, we're losing nothing to Rhode Island. The Twin Rivers in RI is going bankrupt. The state is so dependent on the small slice of change they get there that they're even thinking of buying out Twin Rivers - which means they not only won't be making money off that racino, but they'll be losing cash. Hundreds of millions in cash. In a year that they're facing a steep fiscal crisis of their own. Knowing that, does adding slots to racinos in Massachusetts sound like such a good idea to you? I didn't think so.
But what about Connecticut? The casinos in Connecticut are doing so well that thousands are being laid off and Foxwood's MGM expansion is empty. The planned expansion at Mohegan Sun are no longer planned. The Connecticutt casinos, like casinos across America - including Las Vegas - aren't too far from bankruptcy. It's pretty clear that even if Massachusetts legalized a casino, it could take years before financing could be available to build a behemoth project. It's equally clear, looking at Rhode Island, that allowing racinos won't tide us over - they'll only get us in deeper.
There really aren't any compelling reasons for a casino or racinos in Massachusetts. If we allow them, it will kill our local businesses and communities. The facts can't be denied. Atlantic City went from having 220+ restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs to having less than 60 today, after casinos came in. In Detroit, they've lost 20% of all of their small businesses since they've allowed casinos. Casinos are not the answer. They do not add to the economy - they only redistribute the money already flowing in it (up to 75%, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston). Instead of having small businesses, with local ownership, sending their kids to our schools and paying our property taxes, we'll have corporate ownership, shipping people in from all around the country to work at the megaresort casino, instantly infusing hundreds more kids into local schools that almost certainly couldn't handle such a large and quick influx. What part of this sounds like a good economic idea to you, Representative Bowles?