Now I'm not much of a gambler, but from where I'm sitting, it looks like bringing legalized gambling to Massachusetts is squarely in the "when to run..." territory.
For example, from a recent article about 15 companies which might not survive the year, 2 are casinos...
Station Casinos. (Privately owned, about 14,000 employees). Las Vegas has already been creamed by a biblical real-estate bust, and now it may face the loss of its home-grown gambling joints, too. Station - which runs 15 casinos off the strip that cater to locals - recently failed to make a key interest payment, which is often one of the last steps before a Chapter 11 filing. For once, the house seems likely to lose.And from yesterday's Boston Herald,
Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings. (TRMP; about 9,500 employees; stock down 94%). The casino company made famous by The Donald has received several extensions on interest payments, while it tries to sell at least one of its Atlantic City properties and pay down a stack of debt. But with casino buyers scarce, competition circling, and gamblers nursing their losses from the recession, Trump Entertainment may face long odds of skirting bankruptcy.
In late 2007, when Adelson, the chief executive at Las Vegas Sands, testified before the Legislature in favor of casino-style gambling in Massachusetts, he dreamed of constructing a casino in the western suburbs. Back then, his company’s share price peaked at $150. Today, the stock has declined more than 90 percent. Adelson himself has lost billions.Meanwhile, our neighbor to the south ponders bailing out it's own source of economic salvation
Adelson’s competitors at MGM, Wynn Resorts and Harrah’s are laying off employees and slashing wages. Reports out of Atlantic City have casinos “shedding jobs at an alarming pace.” In Mississippi, casino revenues tumbled 6 percent last year, and 2009 is looking worse.
Rhode Islanders marveled when the seedy old Lincoln Greyhound Park was transformed by investors into a lavish gambling salon, with a map of the state etched into the terrazzo marble floor and soaring columns fashioned to appear like autumn oaks.
But the legions of new gamblers that were supposed to flock to the glitzy slot parlor, rebranded as Twin River and purchased and renovated at a cost of nearly $700 million, never came. Its operators cannot meet heavy debt obligations and have defaulted on the terms of their loans. Bankruptcy threatens.
But there is a silver lining for Massachusetts in all this.
I mean, just imagine if those high rollers, Governor Patrick and State House Reps Allen, Ayers, Barrows, Bradley, Calter, Creedon, Curran, Canessa, DiNatale, Driscoll, Evangelidis, Fresolo, Frost, Garry, Gifford, Greene, Hill, Humason, Jones, Koczera, McCarthy, Naughton, Nyman, O'Day, Perry, Peterson, Polito, Puppolo, Quinn, Rice, Rush, Sandlin, Smith, Stanley, Sullivan, Timilty, Toomey, Turner, Wallace, Walsh and Webster had their way last year and approved that fabulous casino plan - we could be bailing out a few billionaire casino investors of our own right now.
(Note: It occurs to me that some of those reps might be your reps. Perhaps, in light of current speculation over whether the State should approve slots, it would be productive to write to those reps and offer a gentle reminder somewhere along the lines of this post.)