Monday, November 09, 2009

Expanding at the Worst Time?

For any state elected leader who votes to allow an expansion to predatory gambling through slots, they're going to be doing it at the absolute worst time imaginable. Why? The state's authority to treat gambling addicts -- the Mass Council on Compulsive Gambling -- has just had it's budget cut by 50%, on top of the 12% they've had to cut due to a loss in funding, for a total loss of 62% of their funding. For the hundreds of thousands of gambling addicts who already live in Massachusetts, our state's sole agency that deals with problem gambling now receives only $500,000 in funding through the state lottery (roughly .05% of what the state lottery takes in).

The MCCG has never had the funds to deal with the magnitude of the problem that already exists in Massachusetts - and slots would double that problem. Why should anyone trust state lawmakers with an expansion to gambling, given their track record with "mitigation" to date?

It's no wonder that even Governor Patrick is starting to become lukewarm on casinos in Massachusetts. Today's SHNS/Jim O'Sullivan piece has more, for those with access, but here was a key quote:
“I don't want anybody in the Legislature to be thinking about expanded gaming as a quote fix unquote for the fiscal challenges facing the commonwealth. It's not. It's not," Patrick said during an appearance 96.9FM-WTKK.
Legislators have to start asking themselves just what Governor Patrick would sign into law.

Here's Kathy Scanlon at the recent state house hearing on predatory slot gambling.


Anonymous said...

The Hypocrisy of Democrats

If gambling bothers you so much then work to stop the sale of booze

Middleboro Remembers said...

If discretionary income is declining, unemployment is increasing, the CT casinos have euphemistically "re-structured their debt, it's baffling that the predatory legislators believe revenues will fall like "manna from the heavens."

This is consistent with the pattern that I described in my testimony -- all previous policies and agreements and promises get cut or eliminated.

The Commonwealth's commitment to treat gambling addiction was a promise that came with the lottery.

All bets are off!

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