“I have been an opponent of casino gaming . . . but the territory we’re in right now is unprecedented in terms of the budget” said Rep. Peter Kocot (D-Northampton). “With the situation in such a great state of flux and the potential damage with my constituents, my mind is open.”Let's remind Representative Kocot why we can't dig ourselves out of this mess with casinos -- and let's all be honest, legalizing casinos is digging.
- Casinos are largely a redistribution of money already flowing in the economy -- up to 75% of all casino revenue was small business revenue before the casino came in.
- Not only does that mean we're already taxing this mythical revenue casinos would bring in today, it means that the small businesses we already have in this state - the lifeblood of the entire economy - would be severely drained. Many businesses will cease to exist - as we've seen countless times in places like Detroit and Atlantic City, after casinos moved in.
- Small businesses have an economic multiplier effect - money spent at your local sub shop ends up being spent at the barber, who spends it at the local deli. Money spent at the local casino gets sucked into the void, like watering a CEO's 100 acre lawn in the desert somewhere in Arizona.
- If we legalize slots, the rate of gambling addiction will double -- and reach 5%. That means 1 in 4 families will be directly effected by problem gambling. If someone is an addict to gambling, they're a drain on the economy. Can 1 in 4 families afford to have that drain? Can our economy?
- Casinos place huge burdens on our resources. The obvious ones are police, fire and addiction counselors. However, the even-more-problematic ones would be burdens on local schools. What happens when hundreds of new students are added to a school system that doesn't have the infrastructure to support them? What happens when those students are coming from families earning wages at or just above poverty level, requiring special assistance in the schools? What happens when the casinos who are bringing those families here aren't paying for them? The school system goes kaput, the town goes to hell, those who can leave and those who can't get stuck with a diminished quality of life and lower property values.
- How many hundreds of millions of dollars will the Massachusetts "Gaming" Authority cost to staff and operate? How many more hack jobs will come into existence?
- How many politicians and lobbyists in this state will end up going to jail over casino-related corruption (several already in the Middleboro efforts).