Saturday, September 03, 2011

Don't Blame Me, I'm from USS-Mass

That's my latest slogan. 10 years from now, casinos and slot barns will look like a very, very bad idea, if all goes according to the holy trinity's plan and the special interests finally win out. Renee Loth gets it and I hope people will read her column.

It's really not difficult to understand what casinos mean to Massachusetts, if we allow them to come here, if people have any kind of imagination or look at it in any detail at all.

Here's a nice mantra to repeat from Loth's piece:
Gambling is “a tax on people who are bad at math.’’
Casinos don’t so much create jobs as replace them, cannibalizing other local businesses to benefit some corporate giant in Vegas or Malaysia. 
Gamblers losing their money in our new casinos will be mostly locals.
The surrender to casinos signals the limits to our exceptionalism. Apparently, when it comes to the lure of easy money, we’re just like all the rest.
Those are four fundamental truths to consider, if you know nothing else. Remember, we've never done a cost study on casinos, ever.

It's also important to realize just what's going into this bill. It's loaded with special interest giveaways, like 9% of all revenue going toward corporate welfare for special interest horse farms and racers. Some Beacon Hill pols who vote for this bill will directly benefit from it; while the bill includes language barring state workers from becoming lobbyists for the industry, state lawmakers are conveniently excluded from that language.

So, long after the Department of Justice starts throwing people in jail, and long after hundreds or thousands of local businesses go under or face dramatic cuts, costing the state hundreds of millions in revenue, and after this state has created numerous institutions, both private and public, to pocket their favorite pals with cushy jobs, all we'll be left with is a vampire industry that does nothing but suck, suck, suck from the local community.

The fat lady hasn't sung and all that, so it's time to call your state legislators and let them know they should at least have the human decency to clean up the bill and demand a cost analysis before we go through with it.

*USS-Mass stands for "United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts," a group of mostly middle and working class Bay Staters who've fought the good fight for many years now.

1 comment:

Middleboro Review said...

Love the slogan! Great article filled with solid facts.

What is particularly worrisome is the adverse effect Slot Barns will have on tourism that is mostly ignored.

Although proponents wave the banner, consider this:

Solid data show that when casinos come to heritage tourism towns, visitation to the historic resource plummets as it did in Vicksburg, Miss., where 40 percent of the historic downtown is now shuttered.

From: Tourism

Families with children come to see history - Faneuil Hall, the Freedom Trail, Salem, and so on. They bring their children because it's a safe place to bring kids and enjoy the sights.

If anything, a Slot Barn in Boston will discourage tourism in addition to destroying small, locally owned businesses.

Such a deal!

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