You went on Emily Rooney's TV show claiming casinos actually help local businesses. No offense, but I think you're full of it. We get that you like casinos and think they're swell, but do you have to support them so blindly? If casinos are so good for local businesses, can you please explain to me why Atlantic City went from having over 260 restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs to having less than 50 today, after casinos? Or why Detroit's lost 20% of all its small businesses since casinos went in to 2007? Or how about the fact that New London, Connecticutt lost over 30 restaurants to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, or that Cripple Creek, Colorado, went from having 66 restaurants to 10. Can you please explain how casinos 'helped' the small businesses in those areas?
The answer, of course, is that they didn't and don't. Casinos are one great, big, giant sucking sound, but you knew that already. We in this state have to decide whether we want to help that great, big, giant sucking sound -- or our local business owners, who are our friends and neighbors and the lifeblood of any state's economy (85% of the Commonwealth's). If you want to still espouse the virtues of casinos, that's fine, but at least be honest about the downside. The only winner when a casino comes in is the House.
PS: Your claim that the University completely funds your casino research is downright false. I found an example, reported by the press, of an instance where a union gave $20,000 to your organization to research how much casinos would fund state coffers -- right around when the union accepted $25,000 from a casino lobby group. Furthermore, that totally clouds your claim that you've made many times, that you don't accept money from casinos interests on behalf of your organization. Saying your Center hasn't accepted money from any casinos is misdirection at best -- while your Center may not have accepted money from a casino group directly, it's clearly accepted money from it indirectly, and to say that it's completely funded by the University is, well, completely false.