Gambling Bug Has Reached Epidemic Proportions in Taxachusetts

The lure of the big win has thoroughly infected Massachusetts. It may or may not be a win for the taxman but it certainly will be a detriment to citizens who also think that big win can be theirs too. Across America, more and more states are turning to casino gambling as a way to increase tax revenues. They look at casino gambling as a way to stimulate the economy, create jobs with casino construction and building supporting infrastructures, creating jobs in the casinos themselves, and other jobs within the communities the casinos reside. Many claim that portions of tax revenues will be used to generate economic development to create other new jobs. Last month Governor Deval Patrick signed into law legislation legalizing casino gambling in Massachusetts. The law permits one slots parlor and three resort-style casinos with full-scale table games in each of three geographic zones: east, west, and in the southeast. With Patrick’s signature on the new legislation hardly dry, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft invited billionaire Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd, to accompany him at Sunday’s game between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Wynn was scheduled to talk to residents and to assess the potentiality of a resort on land the Patriots own across from Gillette stadium. That all sounds well and good. Job creation, economic stimulation and development in a depressed economy are exactly what we need. However, there are better ways to accomplish job growth, and creating new taxes and new spending at the economic detriment to citizens is not one of them. You see, there is only so much money in the pot. There is not an unlimited supply. If a person wins money at gaming or earns more money, someone else loses or has less. Studies have shown that most folks will not spend money on food and other necessities just to

spend it gambling in a casino because of the lure of that big win; in reality, they become the losers and the casino and state become the winners. James Dobson, Ph.D., Commissioner of the National Gambling Impact Study (1997 – 99), says the study concludes: “gambling depicts a depth of pain and devastation that compels a change in the way betting is regarded; it preys on the desperation of the poor by peddling false hope; and, it exploits the most vulnerable. It undermines the ethic of work, sacrifice, and personal responsibility that exemplify the best qualities of American society. If you scratch beneath the veneer of gambling-induced prosperity, the pain, despair and hopelessness of problem and pathological gamblers is recognized as a stark tragedy. We must reject the fantasy that wagering is innocuous entertainment and deal earnestly with the destruction and pain that it causes to individuals, families, and society.” “How can you justify exploiting the misery of the public you allegedly serve?” It simply “[encourages] more people to bet, then let the state stuff its pockets with the money the losers leave behind.” “Casino owners exploit hope as a means to a greedy end. They prefer that we see gambling as nothing more than an expression of free will, and that we think of casinos as a source of job growth and new revenue. “Whatever the financial benefits of casinos, the social harm will soon become intolerable. Only then will we fully understand the nature of hope as too sacred to exploit for greed, but it will be too late.”

Sources: Associated Press, Casino operator to visit home of NFL’s Patriots, BostonHerald.com National Gambling Impact Study Commission, govinfo.library.unt.edu/ngisc/index.html Joe Fitzgerald, Bob DeLeo, our lives are no gambling matter, BostonHerald.com Wendy Murphy, Social cost of casinos will play out one card at a time, BostonHerald.com