Cut and paste this short (2 minutes) video link and send it to your friends and legislators!
the long-term from the negative economic impacts that will result from potential casinos in Massachusetts and continued gaming resort expansion in ConnecticutLikewise, you can file this one under "gambling arms race" and " deja vu all over again":
Will this be the year the New Hampshire House of Representatives ends its long-running opposition to expanded gambling? It still isn’t likely, but there were some encouraging signs besides the several hundred supporters who packed historic Representatives Hall on Thursday for the public hearing on the mega-slots and casino-style games bill of Manchester Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro.Meanwhile, the great state o' Maine continues to debate the obvious:
The release of data showing that more than 1,200 Mainers called a national hot line for problem gamblers last year has lawmakers renewing debate over the funding level for state help programs.Over in the Keystone State, the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is opposing Parx Casino's bid to add 80 live and electronic table games until the casino gives some much needed TLC to the adjoining Philadelphia Park Racetrack.
...calls to the national phone line have grown consistently since the Hollywood Slots facility in Bangor started to operate in 2005, with calls jumping from 118 in 2004 to 1,008 in 2007.
“And last year, it was up to 1,263 calls,” she said. “I don’t know how anyone can say there is not a gambling problem here; of course there is a problem.”
Parx is the most profitable and successful casino in Pennsylvania, generating nearly 20 percent of all slots revenue in the state, executives testified.And, if you were wondering what makes a casino "the most profitable and successful casino in Pennsylvania," well, it's not the "Whales" - it's the "local low rollers" - apparently the same type financially-strapped little guy that Bob DeLeo's gambling initiative is supposed to help.
If that’s true, Ballezzi countered, Parx should be able to maintain the 36 barns and 12 dormitories in the backstretch of its adjoining Philadelphia Park Racetrack.
Ballezzi presented the Pennsylvania Casino Control Board with copies of letters to casino management along with a list of more than 280 maintenance requests submitted last year. Some buildings look like their about to collapse...
"We underestimated significantly how many trips our customers were going to make," Jonas said at last month's Pennsylvania Gaming Congress in Valley Forge.Trips? Huh? Is that an industry term? Like 'gaming' instead of 'gambling'? Like 'glassware' instead of 'bong'?
"When I was in Atlantic City, to have 12 to 15 trips out of customers, they were VIPs," Jonas said. At Parx, "it's not uncommon for us to have 150 to 200 trips."
Moderator Michael Pollock, a well-regarded casino analyst, paused to digest the statistic.Which causes columnist Monica Yant Kinney to reflect that,
"You said 150 to 200 times a year," he repeated. "That's three to four times a week, essentially."
"Yes," Jonas confirmed, most of his players fit that profile. In fact, because Parx players tend to live within 20 miles of Street Road, many go even more frequently.
"We have customers," Jonas boasted, "who give us $25, $30 five times a week."
Besides work and the gym, there's no place I go three to five times a week. And, beyond Target and Wegmans, nowhere I drop as much cash.But wait... Six-hundred or so miles away from Parx, over in my neck of the woods, owners of small local businesses seem to feel a slot parlor at the Raynham Dog Track is the path to prosperity.
Jonas should be proud of Parx's haul. But if frequency can portend problem gambling, should he - and we - worry about thousands of people who've made playing a way of daily life? It didn't take much to lure them, beyond proximity, free valet parking, and $50 comps. "If you live 15 minutes away, you really don't need a room," Jonas told the casino group. His customers "come in, grab a hot dog or maybe a chicken sandwich," gamble three hours, "then go home and sleep in their own bed."
Young Yeom, owner of the Hyasi Sushi & Japanese restaurant in South Easton, about two miles north of the track, also said slots would be a good idea, especially since dog racing didn’t do much for her upscale sushi restaurant.Most local business owners don't really understand the gambling industry's business model - it's not your typical industry - but United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, the state-wide expanded gambling opposition group does - and offers new page on it's web site outlining how both slot parlors and resort casinos cost their host and surrounding communities - including case studies of the Foxwoods experience in Connecticut and a racino in Bangor Maine.
"Their customers are not our customers," she said. "But I think slots (would help)." Jing Huang, owner of Yummy House, a Chinese restaurant a mile and a half south of Raynham Park, is impatient with the whole question, saying officials have been teasing people for years with the possibility of expanded gaming.
He thinks his business, which sits just north of I-495, would stand to benefit greatly from the extra traffic.
Bangor restaurants are not seeing any benefit from Hollywood Slots. In fact, a February 2009 article in the Bangor Daily News chronicled the fate of eight restaurants that had recently closed their doors or reduced their services.Still, for those who imagine a city casino the cure for urban blight, consider the case of Detroit, MI, as recalled in a new memoir released last month, "Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen," by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Sandra Adell.
The area around MotorCity (casino), which occupies the former Wonder Bread factory, looks like a wasteland, with weed-infested fields, borded -up houses, and abandoned buildings everywhere. Each casino is conveiniently located near expressways so out-of-town gamblers - the tourists - can take their money and run and never see the blight the millions of dollars they leave behind have yet to eradicate.
Yeah, who needs public health inititives anyway?
Two years ago, Iowa legislators banned smoking in most public places. Iowa casinos are one of the few places where smokers can still light up indoors. Michael Galloway believes it’s helped keep business booming at Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino in Altoona. Galloway is the chairman of Prairie Meadows’ Board of Directors.
“I think our attendance has stayed pretty strong, even through the bad economy…so maybe part of it is attributable to the ability for people to smoke and game,” Galloway said. There are 1,900 slot machines inside the casino and most of them have an ash tray within reach.
As expected, House Speaker Robert DeLeo earlier this week declared his intention to push for legalizing both slot machine parlors and resort casinos in Massachusetts, a move which could extend the life of Raynham’s ailing greyhound dog track.... this appeared in the Pawtucket Times
The bill, which would be incorporated into Carcieri’s revised budget for the current year, would eliminate dog racing at the facility and forbid it in the future, cut in half the current number of mandated employees (suspended for the time being) at the venue from 1,300 to 650, and hike the amount the state agrees to pay in management and marketing fees to the facility.A day later, State House News service served up even more irony.
he expected geographic separation to apply to the two casinos he will propose, which he called the “bigger product.” DeLeo said, “There’s probably going to be a limited number of slots.” DeLeo said “some” had asked for the Legislature to get involved in casino siting, but indicated he would like to leave siting issues, as well as applicant background checks, to a commission. “I don’t really think that that is our role,” he said, referring to the idea of the Legislature stipulating casino locations.Apparently the role of the legislature is to sound a lot like gambling industry insiders.
The FBI in Cleveland isn't waiting for a casino to be built -- temporary or otherwise -- to make a pre-emptive strike.Gosh, that's comforting. Goodness knows we could all use more crime. Like embezzlement.
Agents recently met with Cavs owner and casino builder Dan Gilbert and his staff to prepare them for the ways crime can creep into the casino scene.
"This isn't our first rodeo," said Cleveland FBI agent-in-charge Frank Figliuzzi. "The FBI around the country and around the world has a history with casino operations."
He said Gilbert and his security staff came to FBI headquarters on Lakeside Avenue "and they received a briefing on historical issues that we have seen arise in cities that have taken on casino gaming."
Figliuzzi said those issues include organized crime, union and labor issues and various corruption schemes that have arisen in other cities.
He added, "We want to make the players aware of what these things look like when and if they see them occurring, and sensitizing them to some of the issues that could occur early on, based on what the FBI around the country has seen." Vigilance begins with the hiring process: "We've seen casinos compromised from within," Figliuzzi said.
Pokrywczynski told a federal judge that he stole because he needed cash to gamble at casinos. He is the latest of several local people convicted of large-scale embezzlements linked to legalized casino gambling.But what's a potential crime wave if it brings more decent jobs to the State, right? And we sure need decent jobs because according to the Massachusetts Economic Independence Index released this week by Crittenton Women’s Union, a "Boston-based nonprofit innovator in breaking the cycle of poverty",
"I've had at least 10 cases like this, and we're seeing more of them," said Thomas J. Eoannou, attorney for Pokrywczynski. "And a lot of them are people who have never broken the law before in their lives."
a single parent with two children needs an annual income of $61,618 in Massachusetts just to get by.Ooops.
require two years or less of higher education that pay at the Mass. Index level and have more than a 100 vacancies statewide—down from 26 three years ago.The Hot Jobs list, sadly, doesn't include those that would be created by expanded gambling - unless of course you count Correctional Officers and Jailers.
Arts advocates are convinced that gambling, whether in the form of "resort-style" casinos or race-track slot parlors, will cut directly into the money that households spend on the arts. Their fear is that a green light for gambling will be the death knell for performing-arts centers and organizations, both large and small, which are already suffering financially.But not to fear, local theatre aficionados because,
One reason for the fears of theater owners in particular is that state casinos might include performance arenas, which in their opinion will provide unfair competition — unfair because, for the casinos, entertainment is a loss leader to bring people onto the premises to gamble. Casinos can thus offer more money to performers, and charge less to patrons, than standalone performance centers can.
Falzone's report, a draft of which has been seen by some in the arts community, will recommend ways that a gaming bill could mitigate the effects on the performing-arts community — perhaps by devoting a portion of the revenue stream from gaming directly to nonprofit performing-arts facilities, or by implementing some type of ban on performance venues in casinos.Which is awesome - except for a little thing called "reality".
Still, that won't be good enough for some should gaming get its foot in the door. "Remember the arts lottery," warns Poulos. The lottery was once meant to funnel money to the arts; as other needs arose, that flow was shut off in the early 1990s.Two stakeholders in Worcester's Hanover Theatre weigh in with a little reality check of their own.
We urge you not to be distracted by all of the noise about casino gambling in Massachusetts and do your own research. Look at New London, Conn., where more than 30 restaurants closed following the opening of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Look at Cripple Creek, Colo., whose once-thriving downtown went from 66 restaurants to less than 10. Look at performing arts centers in other cities where the impact from nearby resort casinos has been devastating. It took us less than an hour on the phone with managers of theatres in Reading, Pa., Fresno, Calif., and Ames, Iowa, to be convinced.Not to worry. According to Joe Pacheco, aide to Bridgewater's Dave Flynn (D - Slots),
any gambling bill would also likely have a provision allowing residents in the host city or town to vote “yes” or “no” on the project.Yup, no doubt just like like they did in Middleoboro - where a favorable vote on a ballot initiative was secured by promising voters a billion-dollar casino with 5 star restaurants, a hotel, arena and water park, that, one year later had become a small casino with some food service.
“There has to be something to cover the interest of the community,” he said.
“The governor will fight like hell to save 100 jobs at a hotel,” said Scott Ferson, a spokesman for Raynham Park owner George Carney, former aide to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, and outside adviser to the Patrick-Murray ticket in 2006. “He’ll spend probably over $10 million to save one job, his own. But he seems not to care about the 250 people who would lose their jobs, let alone the 500 who would have jobs there with slots at the tracks.” Referring to a comment Patrick made in December, Ferson said, “In determining his position against slots at the tracks, the governor says that he doesn’t want to be a jerk. The employees at Raynham are having a hard time understanding the subtleties of his position.”Strong words indeed, especially since Scott wouldn't care about the unemployed unless he tripped over one on the way to his beemer. (They couldn't afford his fee.)
Solomini asked why states with a lot of casinos like Nevada and Florida have higher foreclosure rates than Massachusetts. Pacheco answered “They would have a higher foreclosure rate for they’re much larger”. Clearly he was confusing “rate” with “quantity”. This was a simple, clearly stated question that Pacheco failed to understand and answer.Naturally, we can't talk of Middleboro and casinos without bringing up those two federally recognized, casino-seeking, wind turbine-hating tribes, the Mashpee and
A few years ago we and others were urging their recognition, and then joyous when some of the tribe's horrible past was being addressed and remedied.I suspect that Chuck Schumer understands. He's fighting to have land-in-trust decisions handled by Congress, and not by a one-size-fits-all federal policy in the hands of an unaccountable political appointee in the Interior Department.
Now we feel antipathy and contempt for their lies and deceits.
I do not believe that either of these two well-educated and worldly Mashpee tribal leaders believe the fraudulent cow manure they have been shoveling to the press.
“Given that the issues surrounding the land-trust process are challenging, and affect different parts of the country differently, Congress is the best place to mete out these issues,” Schumer’s office said.Which sounds pretty good until you hear that the Akaka bill is expected to pass in the House. This bill
would accomplish something peculiar for a liberal republic in the 21st century: It would partly disenfranchise a portion of one state’s residents, create a parallel government for those meeting a legislated criterion of ethnic purity, and would portend the transfer of public assets, land, and political power from those who fail to satisfy the standard of ethnic purity to those who do. For these reasons and many more, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act richly deserves opposition.What's the big deal, you ask? Well, trust me, the more you know about the failed federal policy that made suburban mega-casinos a reality, the more it makes your head spin. My pal Howard, an equal rights activist out in Minnesota warns that tribal 'gaming' and the federal bureaucracy that perpetuates it
is akin to the Ponzi schemes exposed on Wall Street and across the nation. He points out that old tribal ways, once revered, have been replaced by corporate power, gambling initiatives, and other practices that allow corruption and greed to hurt the local communities. In his address, President Obama pledged to strengthen tribal sovereignty, which Hanson claims will only serve to breed more racism and discrimination, perpetuating the exploitation and social issues plaguing the Indian people. He also points out that untaxed tribal trust lands contribute to the budget deficits plaguing many states, including Minnesota.And while we know that Bob DeLeo, in his relentless quest to boost revenues at his own district's race tracks, doesn't give a rat's backside if it triggers a series of events that could turn the South Shore into a sovereign Atlantic City, the rest of us should be worried. In fact, Jim Marino, one of the few Indian gaming attorneys who can cast a reflection in a mirror, cautions that even in the best of circumstances
Most agreements made by local and state governments for the casino tribe to pay some money in lieu of taxes, if one is negotiated at all, are, in most cases, worthless and unenforceable because tribes seldom effectively waive their immunity from suit and refuse to divulge any income and expense information upon which such payments would be based. The vast profits accrued from the losses of gamblers enables tribal governments to unduly influence politicians and corrupt the political system and preserve their unregulated and tax free status. It is not long before nearby non-Indian businesses are forced out of business because they cannot compete with tax free, legally immune and unregulated Indian businesses.Notice how it's always the local communities that get hurt?
"Casino gambling is where objectivity goes to die."But don't just take it from Steve. A recent national survey revealed that more people believe gambling facilities are detriment to local towns.
"They tell me that when it comes to casinos, there are two conversations going on," Peter Woolley, PublicMind's poll director, said Wednesday of the results. "One is among those who, like state governments, want to bring in more gambling. But the other is among people who would be impacted by the introduction of casinos. I was surprised that so many said they have a negative effect."Another casualty of expanded gambling is the lottery. And, during these dark economic days, things are especially tough in golden sun-drenched Florida, home to 6 casinos, 9 racinos and various other places to blow your money. But heck, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And Florida's going deep.
The state pays millions to probe the thoughts and habits of potential lottery players. Consultants ask what they buy at convenience stores, whether they rent videos, go to theme parks, even how they feel about owning things and belonging to a group.
The results show the lottery relies on the poorest and least educated — "Thrill Seeking Dreamers," it calls them — to spend more than everyone else. Floridians shelled out nearly $4 billion on lottery tickets in 2008-09, with the Thrill Seekers accounting for half of those purchases.
Now, amid double-digit unemployment, the state needs new players — plus more money from the regulars.
"All of our efforts at the Lottery must be directed toward improving the current sales trend," Lottery officials said in a report to lawmakers late last year. They have the recommendations in hand with the opening this week of the 2010 legislative session.
Lottery officials proposed an aggressive plan, including selling tickets in more places, perhaps online, in restaurants and in Walmart, and offering more intense games, possibly one that offers hourly drawings.
Just think, here in Massachusetts, home to the Nation's most successful lottery, which, unlike casinos and slot parlors, sends the bulk of it's earnings back to the same cities and town that would be impacted by them, we too may one day experience the thrill of desperate governmental manipulation at the hands of marketing consultants. Simple hopes for a brighter future for sale on every corner, wallets scraped clean, pockets squeezed of every extra penny on the promise of a dream, for the benefit of the bottom line.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Massachusetts isn't Florida. Yet. And so I'll leave the last word to Joe Fitzgerald, who reminds us all in the Herald that
Yes, the commonwealth needs more revenue, especially as it continues to hemorrhage staggering sums through the greed and corruption that permeate the public sector; hardly a day goes by without another story detailing a betrayal of public trust.
But is this the answer to our fiscal problems? Encourage more people to bet, then let the state stuff its pockets with the money the losers leave behind?
This is good government? Please. This is obscene.
Normally the state at least pretends to care about us: No cigarettes in public venues! No candy in school vending machines! No roughhousing at recess! No trans fats in restaurant meals!
But in this shameless push to capitalize on a merciless addiction, it has abandoned all pretense of caring and readily admitted its only allegiance is to the Almighty Dollar, consequences be damned.
would have to eventually morph into casinos if they are going to survive.
Once gaming is expanded, we intend to move forward with our plans to build a full resort-style casino in Southeastern Massachusetts under the rights afforded to us as a sovereign Indian tribe.
Proponents for legalizing slot machine and casino gambling sweetened the pot Thursday offering to dedicate the first $50 million in taxpayer profit from it to avoid state budget cuts to seniors, the disabled, children and low-income families.(Oh, that is so sweet.)
The opposing side is suggesting the state have a competition for an exclusive casino license in exchange for a $100-million upfront licensing fee. Their legislation even suggests several potential sites, including the Providence waterfront, The Westin Providence hotel and surrounding convention and civic centers; the towns of West Warwick and Johnston and Quonset Point.And so, my friends, as the rabid hyenas of the gambling world wake this morning with renewed hopes of a long-awaited feast on the untouched entrails of Masschusetts, and as golden tails of jobs and aid and revenue are spun by the enchanted denizens of the PR forest, let's remember the plight of little Iowa, where similar dreams once roamed the landscape.
a state of just 3 million people, it has twenty casinos. Despite promises that gambling profits would focus on education, the state still ranks near the bottom in public funding for schools. Iowa wages are well below the national average; prisons are overcrowded; public funding for the arts is among the lowest in the nation; and the state is currently funding a budget crisis of greater magnitude than ours in Massachusetts.Impossible in our fair Commonwealth?
The Great American Jobs Scam is actually a collection of scams that have evolved over the past half-century and especially over the past three decades. These scams both rely upon—and reinforce—several factors.They rely on taxpayer confusion about the causes and effects of job creation. These scams thrive when the purported benefits — especially jobs benefits — of tax cuts and other subsidies are played up, so companies must exaggerate the positive impact while the business basics of location behavior are played down. They rely on taxpayer costs being kept vague, understated, or hidden. They need program rules to stay loose and unaccountable so that when a company fails to deliver, it suffers no consequences. They flourish when governments fail to monitor the real outcomes on jobs, wages, and other benefits. And most of all, these scams are built upon a corporate-controlled definition of “competition” that prevents government officials from cooperating in taxpayers’ best interests.
Those who peddle and those who buy into these corrupted definitions salute the corporate bottom line while thumbing their noses at common sense, social science, and good government.
Blindfolded public officials practice job creation guided by wolves posing as Seeing Eye dogs.
Fortunately, despite the siege of disinformation, there is a rich bipartisan history of reform that has created proven precedents for dismantling the scam.The most important of these is disclosure.When more information is available about the costs and benefits of the scam, many more people will get involved—and that’s the scammers’ darkest nightmare.
"If not gambling, what other ideas do yoooooooooou have for coming up with new jobs and revenue."Okay, look. I've heard this same question from everyone from small town selectmen to Sen. Marc Pacheco, to that slimeball in Dave Flynn's office.