Monday, May 18, 2009

The Last Gasps of an Evil Industry

Despite the fact that the dog track industry in Massachusetts refused all help in worker retraining from the state and private sources, they're now begging lobbying intensively for an extension to the deadline in which they cease to exist - citing the jobs. From the State House News Service (sorry, can't link):
High-ranking state lawmakers are considering changes to another voter law, mulling strategies to provide both quick and lasting relief to the state's dog racing industry – including a two-year delay of the dog-racing ban voters mandated last November....

“Inasmuch as the voters went to the polls, I wonder if the election were held today, given the set of circumstances we face with regard to the economy, if the voters would have a different thought,” said Rep. Brian Dempsey, House chair of the Economic Development Committee, which oversees gambling legislation. Dempsey said no plan was currently in place to extend the implementation date.
When an industry refuses state help in retraining or shifting its workers to other industries, it's extremely disingenuous to then use a small number of jobs as an excuse to continue to kill and maim dogs. The very fact that those jobs are now at risk is actually a part of the public relations campaign of the track industry -- the people behind those jobs are at much greater risk precisely because the track industry is using them as pawns and refusing to help retrain them. If the workers were retrained and rehired elsewhere, there'd no longer be any Raynham and Wonderland jobs at stake.

But this is nothing new for any card-carrying members of the gambling lobbies. One of their frequent tactics is to continue to push for new rules and regulations that lead to a never-ending expansion of their interests. Whether its any number of the expansions to the state lottery or Rhode Island's racino begging for longer hours, less restrictions and smaller taxes, gambling industries always want more, more, more. Why would anyone ever think such tactics would stop at overturning the will of the voters from just a few months ago?

With the dog industry going bankrupt, though, one has to ask why these tracks are so desperate to stay open. Forcing these things closed, in terms of potential profits, is actually a thing of mercy. Companies that lose millions every year shut down -- but keeping the actual tracks open is not the modus operandi here. This is really all about slots. The day the tracks are sold, it's that much less likely there will ever be a racino in Massachusetts. The death of the dog track industry -- and their hopes to add slots -- can't come soon enough.


Anonymous said...

OMG, Ryan! Did you ever get this one right.

No one goes to see racing any more except for senior citizens who are bored and haven't figured out what else to do in life.

This is a dead industry and it's time to bury it.

Do we see any corset manufacturers being saved?

Anonymous said...

What don't legislators understand about my vote?Only on Beacon Hill could they find an excuse or think I would change my mind.Retrain the workers and let them find new jobs.We're wasting more energy trying to save a dead industry that is nothing more than a front for slots.It's time to plan for a future that doesn't include gambling.

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