Meetings & Information

Massachusetts Gam[bl]ing Commission

To send a note to the Commission expressing your opposition to a casino at Suffolk Downs:
contact form on their website.

Check the Gambling Commission site for changes and updates:

You may submit your comments to the commission at:

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A record loss for gamblers at Pa. casinos

A record loss for gamblers at Pa. casinos
Posted: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gamblers lost $67.93 million playing poker and other table games at Pennsylvania casinos last month, the highest total since table games began in July 2010, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday.

The total was $551,490 more than the figure for March 2013, the previous high.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, which has been up for sale for nearly a year, continued to hold the top spot in table games, with $15.3 million in revenue, slightly less than the figure a year ago.

The biggest gain in dollars was registered by SugarHouse, which logged a $825,555 increase in table games revenue. A $155 million expansion of the Fishtown casino is expected to open next year.

The state collected $9.8 million in tax revenue from table games, the board said.

Two casino companies seeking the gaming board's blessing to build a casino in Philadelphia said Wednesday that they were joining forces to pursue a license in New York's Hudson Valley-Catskills region.

Penn National Gaming Inc. and the Cordish Cos. said they would propose a $750 million casino and resort in South Blooming Grove, Orange County. The casino would operate under Cordish's Live! brand.

The partners in what would be a 50-50 joint venture are also weighing the possibility of pursuing a casino in the Albany region, where they would use Penn National's Hollywood Casino brand.
Penn National, of Wyomissing, Pa., this year won the single license for a Massachusetts slot parlor, beating out Cordish, of Baltimore, and the owners of Parx Casino.

Cordish and Parx owner, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment Inc., are partners in a bid to win Philadelphia's second license.

A decision by Pennsylvania's gambling regulators is expected this spring.


RI: Declining revenues defining Addiction to Gambling Revenues

Lottery official cites cold winter, sports events as contributing to decrease in revenue

In AG race, a clear choice on casinos

In AG race, a clear choice on casinos

Aquinnah tribe buoyed by gaming ruling

A federal court ruling that favored an Alabama tribe could boost the case for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) to open a casino on its Martha's Vineyard land.
In a ruling handed down last week, a federal judge concluded that Congress intended the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to prevent state law from interfering with Indian gaming on tribal lands.
The judge in the Alabama case ruled on April 11 that the state could not restrict three casinos operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians on tribal lands. In an interesting twist, the judge ruled that federal law protects the gaming authority of the Poarch Band even if the type of casinos are illegal under state law, which they are in Alabama.
"The bottom line is that even if defendants are operating illegal Class III gaming at the Poarch Band casinos, (state law) does not provide the state authority to prohibit such gaming," the judge wrote. Class III gaming includes most casino games.
The Poarch Band casinos apparently use full-fledged slot machines while the state has only authorized Class II gaming, which is typically bingo, electronic or otherwise, and certain card games.
Massachusetts legalized full-fledged casinos in 2012, and the law authorizes the governor to negotiate with federally recognized Indian tribes.
In court documents filed Thursday, attorneys for the Aquinnah tribe provided a supplemental brief that includes the Alabama decision as ammunition in its battle with Massachusetts over gambling rights. The Vineyard-based tribe's contends that it can legally operate a Class II casino, essentially a high-stakes bingo hall, on its Island land without permission from the state.
"... The district court dismissed the state's complaint, concluding that Congress intended IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) to preempt all state-law claims that 'interfere with tribal governance of gaming,'" Aquinnah lawyers wrote about the Alabama case.
The Aquinnah already have received opinions from federal agencies responsible for overseeing Indian gaming that the federal law supersedes settlement acts.
The distinction in the Alabama case may be that it doesn't involve a land settlement agreement, Ronald Rappaport, an attorney for the town of Aquinnah, which opposes a tribe casino, said.
Rappaport said he could not comment further until he has a chance to review the Alabama decision.
Massachusetts and town officials have argued that the land settlement between the Aquinnah and the state, reached in 1983 and codified by Congress in 1987, requires the tribe to follow state and local laws.
Brad Puffer, a spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley's office, which is handling the case for the state, declined comment on the ongoing litigation.
Scott Crowell, the tribe's lead attorney in the case, did not return calls seeking comment.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor heard oral arguments in the dispute between the state and the Aquinnah over whether state or federal court has jurisdiction in the case. Saylor took the case under advisement and has not yet issued a ruling.
In December, Gov. Deval Patrick filed suit in state court seeking to block a Class II casino on the island after tribe leaders made their plans public. The suit, which was brought before a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, alleges a breach of contract.
That triggered a move by the tribe to have the case heard in federal court, which the Aquinnah believe has jurisdiction because of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Tribe leaders have support from the tribe's general membership to use an unfinished community center on the island as a gambling hall. The tribe moved in that direction after the Patrick administration repeatedly refused to negotiate a compact with the tribe similar to the deal reached with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe for a Taunton casino.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gambling Commission ignores legislation to protect Casino Vultures....Hmmm....

Gaming panel alters casino investment threshold


BOSTON — The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted Thursday to alter how much money a company would have to initially invest for a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts but decided to hold off on deciding any changes to the region's gaming licensure timeline until at least May 1.

The commission voted 3-2 to allow applicants to count some on- and off-site infrastructure costs as part of the $500 million minimum capital investment requirement in the Bay State's southeastern area, known as Region C in the 2011 legislation that legalized gambling in the commonwealth.

Commissioner Enrique Zuniga presented an analysis showing less market potential in Region C because of demographics, geography, out-of-state competition and the prospect of a Mashpee Wampanoag tribal casino in Taunton.

Zuniga expressed concerns that because of market limitations and risks within Region C, "setting the bar as high as we have" could scare investors away.

Commissioners Gayle Cameron and James McHugh argued against changing the investment requirement.

The commission also said Thursday that it plans to revisit the Region C timeline at a May 1 meeting, when it is also scheduled to take up the city of Boston's request for host community status for the Mohegan Sun casino proposal in Revere and the proposed Wynn casino in Everett.

The panel previously voted on April 3 to push back the second-phase casino license application deadline for Region C from July 31 to at least Sept. 23.

The city of New Bedford and KG Urban, an applicant that hopes to build in that city, have requested a deadline extension. Fall River, which is working to strike a casino deal with Foxwoods, opposes altering the timeline.

There is uncertainty in the Region C market because of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's pursuit of a casino. The tribe, working through a separate federal process, is awaiting a decision from the Department of Interior on whether it meets the requirements to acquire sovereign land.

The tribe has a compact with Massachusetts that would see the state collect 17 percent of tribal casino revenue, but that share would drop to zero if a commercial casino were approved in Region C.

MGM unwilling to Gamble!

BOSTON - Casino giant MGM is asking Massachusetts gambling regulators to award it a provisional license so it can begin construction on an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield.
MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said at a Thursday hearing of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that the casino operator risks losing about $200 million in state fees and other payments because of uncertainty around efforts to repeal the state's 2011 casino law.
He suggested the commission grant MGM a temporary license that did not require the initial state fees but effectively gave it the rights of a full license holder.
The request comes as the state's highest court is set to hear arguments May 5 in an appeal brought by a local group seeking to place an anti-casino referendum on the November ballot.

Walsh calls for top gambling regulator to recuse himself

Walsh calls for top gambling regulator to recuse himself

Stephen Crosby.
Yoon S. Byun/Globe staff/file 2013
Stephen Crosby.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Illinois: When you're too dumb to stop.....

Another Poster Child for all that is wrong with Predatory Gambling and short-sighted politicians too blinded to create sensible fiscal policies.....

How much more discretionary income can politicians suck from the poor?

Chicago casino plan draws more support at hearing

SOPHIA TAREE, Associated Press

Updated 3:14 pm, Wednesday, April 16, 2014
CHICAGO (AP) — A proposal for a state-owned Chicago casino won praise Wednesday from business groups and a warmer reception from a state regulatory board than past attempts to expand gambling, but the plan also drew criticism from downstate officials and the horse racing industry who said it would cheat them out of needed revenues and jobs.
The hearing in Chicago, which wasn't heated like public exchanges in other parts of Illinois, was the latest attempt to bolster gambling, but questions were also raised about support for the legislation in an election year where other major fiscal issues are pending. Previous bills approved by legislators were twice rejected by Gov. Pat Quinn largely over ethical concerns about corruption, and last year's bill calling for five casinos fizzled out after the Illinois Gaming Board scrutinized plans that would have allowed Chicago to have authority over a casino.
State Rep. Bob Rita, a Blue Island Democrat sponsoring the plans, said he wanted to gauge interest in a Chicago-only plan and give lawmakers options. Two proposals are on the table: One adds five casinos, including in Chicago, plus slots at racetracks. The other calls for a mega-casino in Chicago. In both plans, the Chicago casino would be state run, which Rita said was in response to past criticism.
Though neither Quinn nor Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have weighed in recently, the board that regulates Illinois' 10 existing casinos highlighted the changes.
"There are certainly improvements," gaming board attorney Caleb Melamed told lawmakers. "This is a significantly different piece of legislation than previous years."
He voiced other concerns about the potential of saturating the market with other Chicago area casinos. He also questioned a state-run casino, a model that's unusual among other states. The
Chicago Crime Commission objected to the structure, calling for an operator-owned model like other casinos and more protections against corruption. Chicago area pastors and anti-gambling groups also warned lawmakers of possible social costs on either plan, such as more people hooked on gambling.
"Casino gambling is really nothing more than an increased tax on those who can't afford it," said Matt Fitzgerald, senior pastor at St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago.
Noticeably absent from Wednesday's hearing were Chicago city officials, even while chamber of commerce groups said a downtown Chicago casino — in either plan — would create jobs and benefit the economy with estimated revenues between $450 million to $950 million. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and urban planners envisioned a Chicago casino as a draw for tourists and locals, with shopping and live shows. They said possible locations included the Congress Plaza Hotel, the top floors of a downtown Macy's department store or the James R. Thompson Center, which a state building.
"Chicago is an incredible prize for the gaming industry," said Kim Goluska, president of Chicago Consultants Studio Inc. "The revenues are going to be huge no matter what they are."
Still, Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said the mayor wouldn't address expanded gambling until the city solved its pension problem. State lawmakers have approved a partial fix to Chicago's pension problem, but Quinn hasn't indicated if he'll sign it. Quinn's spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said the Chicago Democrat hadn't seen the two gambling expansion plans.
Rita said he hadn't spoken to either Quinn or Emanuel about the proposals, but wanted to call his legislation for a vote before the end of May. He's said that the political climate in Springfield could be more favorable than last year when lawmakers were considering plans to address the pension system, which is the worst-funded in the nation. Quinn has since signed a pension law. Lawmakers are also looking for additional revenue sources in this election year as the temporary income tax increase rolls back next year and creates the potential for major budget cuts.
One of his current plans calls for a Chicago casino with up to 10,000 terminals that'll share revenues;
Half would go to Chicago and the other half statewide for education and capital construction spending. The other plan would call for a 4,000 to 6,000-spot Chicago casino and smaller, 1,200-position ones in a suburb south of Chicago and the counties of Lake, Winnebago and Vermilion. It would also allow for slot machines at most horse racetracks. The second plan would also allow for revenue sharing.
The idea to separate out the Chicago casino has already drawn opposition from the Illinois' horse racing industry and mayors elsewhere, particularly in economically-depressed areas. They've argued for job creation with the five-casino proposal. The Illinois Casino Gaming Association, which represents most of the state's casinos, said it opposed both plans citing revenue drops over the years and market saturation.
The bill is SB1739.

"Ending the unfairness and inequality produced by government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries."

Please join.

Please support to protect your community!

I have two very important items to share that are Massachusetts-related:

1) First, there is a critical statewide meeting of citizens committed to repealing casinos in Massachusetts on Saturday morning, April 26 at 10am. The meeting location is Wesley United Methodist Church, 80 Beacon St., Framingham. It's hard to find the ideal place to meet but the Repeal the Casino Deal organizers have tried to find a meeting location in a somewhat central area for most participants. (I understand that for some in Westen MA it is still a significant drive but please make every effort to attend.)

The primary purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the final critical step of getting a casino repeal question onto the ballot which, because it is unlikely the Legislature will pass our proposed casino repeal law by May 1st, requires all of us to go out to collect another 11,485 certified voter signatures beginning May 9th- a much, much smaller figure than we did last fall but still a final hurdle we must get over to achieve our mission.

The meeting is open to all citizens and you are strongly encouraged to share the meeting notice with your group and other concerned citizens in your community through your social networks by email, Facebook, etc. BUT anyone planning to attend must RSVP prior to the meeting with their name, address and phone number to The meeting will start promptly at 10am so please arrive early. Hot coffee will be provided. If you want to bring along baked goods or other food, feel free. You can find directions here: The meeting agenda includes: preparing for the final signature collection effort, a discussion of the repeal campaign message going forward and a plan of action for the weeks ahead.

2) Secondly, Stop Predatory Gambling filed an amicus brief with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday regarding the soon-to-heard case on whether citizens can vote to repeal state government's sponsorship of casinos. The heart of SPG's argument is this: Unfairness and inequality of opportunity has been called the defining challenge of our time in our country and in our state. Mounting evidence shows state sponsorship of casinos is contributing to unfairness and inequality of opportunity and therefore, the citizens of Massachusetts deserve an opportunity to debate and decide an issue of such public importance. We urge you to read the SPG amicus here and share the facts within it to your family and friends. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to be heard May 5, 2014.

Also, one of the most important emerging voices against government-sponsorship of casinos, the public health community, weighed in powerfully in a must-read, must-share brief filed yesterday by the prestigious Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law. Their brief highlights how "the predatory gambling industry shares much in common with the tobacco industry. Legalized casino gambling causes devastating effects on the public’s health, including not only the gambler but also their families, neighbors, communities and others with whom they interact. Massachusetts voters should not be denied the opportunity to be heard directly on the question of whether to invite a predatory and toxic industry to do business in the Commonwealth." Read and share widely the brief by PHAI which can we found here.
It's inevitable that casinos will be repealed in Massachusetts. It's not a question of if but when. But it will happen only because each of us does our part to make it happen.

If you support our mission and work, please participate by contributing $10 or more today to help sustain it.

With gratitude,



Les Bernal

National Director

Stop Predatory Gambling

"Ending the unfairness and inequality produced by government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries."


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When will we face up to the life-destroying gambling culture ruining young lives?

When will we face up to the life-destroying gambling culture ruining young lives?

16 April 2014 03:30 PM

I LIKE a flutter on the gee-gees as much as the next man. I attend a couple of race meets a year and usually stick a pin on a horse for the Grand National.

Every week I spend a few euro on the National Lottery. I might also buy a scratch card from time to time.

That said, I'm nowhere near being a gambling man. It's just a bit of harmless fun for me, as it is for most people.

But there is a darker, more sinister and destructive side to this activity that is anything but harmless or funny.

That is, of course, when gambling becomes an addiction.

It was reported this week that approximately 100,000 Irish people suffer from a gambling addiction.

Equally shocking is the proportion of these people who gamble online. The vast majority of online gamblers are under 25 and start their habit on a smartphone.

Logic dictates that many of these addicts must be in their teens.

Two of the countries top addiction centres, Aiseiri and Cuan Mhuire, have seen a 20pc increase year on year in the numbers seeking treatment for gambling addiction.

Online and youth gambling is clearly driving these increases. And handheld devices are making it so much easier to slip into addiction.

Many people gamble online 24/7, in the privacy of their own homes, on smartphones and tablets, sinking deeper into debt. By the time they hit rock bottom and seek help for their addiction, they have already lost their job, their home and their family. Some turn to theft or even self-harm.

Witness the case of the An Post manager Tony O'Reilly, who stole €1.7m from postal accounts in 2011 because of a gambling addiction.

Even more tragic is the recent case of Tyrone footballer Cathal McCarron.

Battling serious gambling, he left Ireland for London. He was in the headlines recently after it emerged that he made a gay porn video to pay off the relatively small sum of €2,000.

McCarron's not the only young GAA player who has battled gambling addiction. Armagh player Oisin McConville admitted a few years back that his habit had led to debts of €120,000.

And there are many, many more cases of young men in serious debt.

Gambling, particularly the online form, is an insidious Pandora's box which, when opened, can be very difficult to close.

It preys on the weakness and frailty of human nature, something that is present to some extent in all of us.

It appears that Ireland is now in the throes of an online gambling epidemic. Much of it is hidden – for now – but the tragic effects will eventually emerge.

What can be done to combat this growing social and health problem?

Is it time for the Government to strictly regulate gambling ads like they've done with other products in the past?

Gambling Addiction & Condiments

A sad and convoluted case of Gambling Addiction, disbarment and prison....

Boise attorney gets 10 years for stealing $150K from elderly client

Credit: Ada County Jail
Joy Cassidy

by Natalie Podgorski
Posted on June 30, 2011 at 3:54 PM
Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 8:30 PM
BOISE -- Do you remember Joy Cassidy?

She is the 75-year-old woman who dumped mayonnaise, maple syrup and ketchup in a library book drop.

While Cassidy was fighting her case, she became the victim of another crime.

Cassidy paid her lawyer, Richard Bergesen, $152,000 to represent her. Lawyers we talked to say she should have only paid $3,000.

Ada County prosecuting attorney Jonathan Medema said Bergesen played off Cassidy's fears of going to jail to get thousands of dollars more.

It started when Cassidy dumped condiments in an Ada County library book drop in 2009. She hired attorney Richard Bergesen to help with her case.

"He was telling her that he needed this money to keep her out of prison,” said Medema.
Bergesen first asked for $50,000, then he said he needed $100,000 more. Cassidy paid the outrageous sum because she was scared of going to jail.

"Well, there is usually no limit on people who are stealing money, you know he can take it, so he'll just keep taking more," said Medema.

Cassidy's financial adviser thought the withdrawals were odd and notified the Idaho State Bar. An investigation was started. There were complaints from other clients and in November Bergesen's license to practice law was suspended. But that didn't stop him from taking on clients.

"He represented himself as a lawyer to a person who paid him money expecting him to be able to do legal services, which of course he couldn't because his license was suspended at that time," said Medema.

That is when Bergesen was charged with felony grand theft. Later, prosecutors added felony exploitation of a vulnerable adult for what he did to Cassidy. Bergesen pleaded guilty to grand theft, and the other charge was dropped.

"I am confident in saying that the sentence would not have been what it was if the court had not been convinced that what he did to Joy was a theft," said Medema.

Bergesen was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison. He will be eligible for parole after three years. He must also pay more than $153,000 in restitution.

Cassidy pleaded guilty to dumping condiments in the library book drop. In January, a judge sentenced her to at least a month in jail.

In Boise, they take their condiments and legal fees seriously


Former Boise lawyer granted parole after more than 3 years

Rick Bergesen, who must repay over $150,000 stolen from a client, has had mental health and gambling issues.
April 16, 2014
Given a tentative parole date of Sept. 15, Rick Bergesen is looking forward to a fresh start.Bergesen, who was disbarred in late 2011 after he was sent to prison earlier that year on a charge of felony grand theft, plans to stay temporarily at the Boise Rescue Mission when he’s released, he told the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole on Monday.

The 50-year-old divorced father of two said he is hoping to get a job at the YMCA or selling cars. He owes more than $153,000 in restitution to two former clients.

“You’re going to repay every dime,” Commissioner Janie Dressen said. She pressed him on when he could begin paying.

“I will be budgeting as much money as I can to pay back restitution,” he said.

He told the parole commission that he has “a lot of remorse” for bilking an elderly client, Joy Cassidy. She was vulnerable because she was terrified of going to prison, prosecutors said. She gave Bergesen $152,000 — nearly her entire life savings. Cassidy, 77, died at a local care center last June.

That doesn’t relieve Bergesen of the responsibility to pay restitution to her heirs.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, Bergesen pleaded guilty to grand theft — admitting to taking a $1,100 retainer from the second client after his license was suspended — and a felony charge of exploitation of an adult was dropped. The name of the second client was not available.

Bergesen was sentenced in 2011 to 10 years in prison, including three fixed (with credit for 182 days). He was up for parole Dec. 29 but was denied; a mental health evaluation was ordered.


Bergesen had numerous disciplinary issues last year, landing him in the Idaho Maximum Security Institution, a facility ringed by razor wire that houses the state’s most disruptive offenders.
“People are housed based upon their behavior, not their crime,” said Olivia Craven, executive director of the parole commission. “Our goal is to get people to the lowest custody level we can.”

Craven said Bergesen had eight disciplinary offense reports, including seven last year. His infractions involved a variety of forms of belligerence, including raising his voice to a staff member, disobeying orders, refusing to allow himself to be transported to another facility, wearing excess clothing (a safety issue) and throwing a tray (which hit an officer).

“Why are you such a pain in the neck?” Parole Commissioner Gary Scheihing asked Bergesen on Monday. Bergesen, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, said he was on the wrong medication then. He said the drug Haldol was giving him uncomfortable side effects.

His mother, Jan Bergesen, told the Statesman that those side effects included feeling as if he had ants crawling under his skin. He couldn’t sleep and was irritated all the time. His mother said she pressed prison officials to switch his medication.

Bergesen has been on Zyprexa for the past five months.

“My attitude is much better now ... I’m in a much more stable place,” he said.

He hasn’t had any disciplinary writeups since late September.

Commissioner Lisa Bostaph raised concerns about Bergesen’s compliance in taking his medication.

If released on parole, Bergesen promised that he would be “taking his medications religiously” and “attending Gamblers Anonymous religiously.”

“It’s make or break for me. I need to stay on this medication so I can stay clear-headed,” he said. Bergesen has completed a six-month program on anger management, and he’ll be required to finish up moral reconation therapy before his release. Moral reconation therapy is a cognitive behavioral program that aims to improve social behaviors and moral judgment.

No specific programming for gambling addiction is available at the prison. However, the other available programs cover “addictions of all kinds,” Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said.

Bergesen’s mother said she doesn’t recall her son ever talking about going through addiction therapy.


Bergesen’s family and friends knew about his gambling addiction because he hit them all up for money. He asked a childhood running coach and friend, Tim Severa, for $7,000, Severa said.

“He was borrowing money from a lot of people,” said Severa, who has made regular visits to the prison. Severa, a youth programs director at the Treasure Valley YMCA, was Bergesen’s running coach at West Junior High. Bergesen was a top runner — he still holds the record for the mile at Borah High, and he was inducted into the University of Oregon’s Athletic Hall of Fame with teammates on Oregon’s 1984 national champion Track & Field Team, according to Severa and Bergesen’s parents.

“He’d never miss a day of running,” said his dad, Bergy Bergesen. “He was like Forrest Gump.”Jan Bergesen said her son attended Gamblers Anonymous meetings before he ended up in prison.
“We went too,” his dad said.

The couple, who have three other grown children, are looking forward to a new beginning for their son.

“I think it’s time for him to get on with the rest of his life,” Jan Bergesen told the parole commission. “We’re looking forward to having him home again.”

Read more here:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Polling: Hippity Hoppin' Down the Bunny Trail! who's gonna tell these folks when they're polled that the revenue projections and job creation projections are so GROSSLY OVERSTATED with Spectrum Gaming leading the pack at a cost to Massachusetts taxpayers of ...was it $189,000?.... 

that the only 'solution' for the inexplicable shortfalls will be FURTHER EXPANSION maybe SLOT MACHINES in convenience stores, SLOT BARNS in their communities....Fa La La La!  


Just like every other state.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Survey: Mass. Voters Support Casinos Outside Of Their Communities

Casinos remain popular as a concept in Massachusetts, just so long as they are located in someone else's community, according to the latest telephone survey from the Western New England University Polling Institute.

The statewide survey of 477 adults, conducted March 31 through April 7, found that 59 percent of adults said they support establishing casinos in Massachusetts, while 34 percent were opposed and seven percent were either undecided or declined to answer the question. The margin of sampling error for the survey was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Still, a many respondents took a "not in my backyard" approach to the issue, with 55 percent saying they were opposed to having a casino in their community and 42 percent saying they supported having a casino in their community. Three percent were undecided or declined to answer the question.

After cross-tabulating responses to the two questions - whether to support casinos and whether to support one in the local community - the Polling Institute found that 41 percent of adults support both establishing casinos and having one in their community; 34 percent oppose allowing casinos in the state and also oppose locating one in their town; 18 percent endorse having casinos in Massachusetts, but do not want one in their community. Another three percent said they do not know or declined to give an answer regarding casinos in the state, but they said they do not want to have a casino near where they live.

The results were almost identical to the institute's previous survey on the issue, conducted in November 2013. In that survey of 517 adults, 61 percent supported establishing casinos in the state, while 33 percent were opposed. When asked whether they support or oppose having a casino in their community, 55 percent of adults in the November 2013 survey said they oppose the idea, while 42 percent said they support a casino in their community.

Tim Vercellotti, director of the Polling Institute and a professor of political science at Western New England University, noted that the latest results are roughly consistent with Polling Institute findings from surveys dating to 2009.

Under a state law adopted in 2011, the state will license up to three resort casinos, with one in each of three regions in the state, and one slots parlor. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission recently approved a license for a slots parlor at the Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, and the commission has said it expects to award licenses for casinos in two of the three regions later this year. In the last 12 months, communities have voted to pass casino proposals in Everett, Springfield and Revere. Proposals have been defeated in East Boston, Milford, Palmer and West Springfield.

The survey also asked respondents how important the issue of casinos was to them personally.

Eighteen percent of adults said very important, 41 percent said somewhat important, 30 percent said not very important and 11 percent said not at all important. Among registered voters, 20 percent said the issue was very important, 42 percent said somewhat important, 30 percent said not very important, and eight percent said not at all important.

Among registered voters who said the issue was very important, 57 percent opposed establishing casinos in the state, and only 40 percent supported the idea. Among those same voters, 62 percent opposed having a casino in their community, and only 37 percent supported the idea, compared with 54 percent and 42 percent respectively for the entire sample of registered voters.

For the entire sample, attitudes regarding casinos varied along the lines of partisanship, gender, age, education and income. Sixty-seven percent of Republican voters said they support establishing casinos in the state, compared with 63 percent of unenrolled voters and 52 percent of Democrats.

Men were more likely than women to support casinos by a margin of 64 percent to 54 percent.

Support was highest among respondents ages 18 to 39 at 63 percent, falling to 51 percent among those ages 65 and older. Sixty-eight percent of individuals with a high school diploma or less backed casinos, compared with 51 percent of college graduates. Fifty-five percent of respondents with annual household incomes of less than $35,000 supported casinos, while support in higher income categories ranged from 60 percent to 64 percent.

- See more at:

Why I'm for Repealing the Casino Law

Why I’m for Repealing the Casino Law

Maura Healey is a Democratic candidate for Attorney General. For comparison's sake, we asked Warren Tolman his position on casinos. His bottom line: "I would vote against repeal." - promoted by david

The significant law enforcement, consumer protection, and public safety impacts of expanded casino gaming in Massachusetts make this a central issue for our next Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer of our commonwealth.

Therefore, I believe you have a right to know exactly where I, and all the candidates for Attorney General, stand on casinos.

I’m opposed to expanded casino gaming and I support the current effort to repeal of the gaming law. I do not believe a modern economy that is focused on creating opportunities for every person can be built on gambling.

The few communities that have voted in favor of casinos are going through tough economic times and many see casinos as a much-needed boost. But evidence from across the country tells a different story. Casinos don’t lay a foundation for diverse economies, they take over. Local restaurants and entertainment venues lose patrons, other industries steer clear, personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures jump, and the costs for police and related services soar

I’ve asked people what local businesses they visited during trips to Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods and the answer I get back for the most part is, “the gas station.”

Some casino supporters act as if we’ve learned nothing in the years since passage of the gaming bill but the last three years have, in fact, taught us a lot. We’ve seen several cities and towns resoundingly vote down casinos after the industry operators had a chance to make their best pitch.

All of which begs the question: Are casinos really a good idea if they’re only good enough for certain cities? I live in Charlestown and I’m opposed to a casino there. The voters of East Boston agreed and voted No on casinos in Boston. Plenty of state leaders have said the same in their hometowns. I know we can do better for everyone.

There are stronger ways to grow our economy. Infrastructure redevelopment creates construction jobs and yields long-term benefits for residents and businesses. Investments in education and job training allow our state to compete for higher-paying and higher-skilled jobs over the long term. A more progressive tax structure, raising the minimum wage, fighting for pay equity, and unionizing our workforce will all do more to support working and middle class families than casino gambling will do.

Recent studies show that casinos may even widen the income gap because gambling proceeds are regressive taxes. They disproportionately affect poorer people who have little discretionary money to lose in the first place. No one wants the government to serve as big brother and tell people how to spend their money but casinos thrive on addictive behavior – just like tobacco companies – and are designed so that people lose. Given all of the evidence about the ills of gambling, I don’t believe in waiting for problems to develop. We need proactive leadership at all levels.

If casinos are built, then the decision about who will be our next Attorney General becomes even more important. It will be the duty of the Attorney General to help protect the public from the accompanying risks, including loan sharking, predatory debt collection, drug and gambling addiction and organized crime. I know some of these challenges well from my years running the Public Protection Bureau in the Attorney General’s Office. As your next AG, I will ensure that our newly-formed Gaming Division recruits the state’s best lawyers to combat these challenges. And I believe that gaming industry should pay for the division.

I will also create a team of investigators stationed full time at the casinos to watch out for abuses just like the teams that Senator Elizabeth Warren successfully fought to put into the banks to watch out for abusive and deceptive practices.

Recently, the Attorney General declared that the current repeal petition was not valid to go to before the voters. The opinion stated that it is improper to shut down the licensing process now that several casino operators have applied. But voters made a decision to shut down the greyhound tracks with a ballot question and that was an industry that had been running for years. I am not concerned about the well-being of casino operators, I am concerned about the well-being of the residents of Massachusetts.

The final decision is up to the courts, but I believe on a matter of this magnitude, the voters should have a chance to be heard.

I also know that the worst reason to support casinos that haven’t been built is because we think we’re already stuck with them. If we have to refund the application fees, so be it.

I support repealing the gaming law and moving Massachusetts forward with smart, sustainable economic policies that help everyone.


Cops: Man shot, robbed after winning thousands at casino

Cops: Man shot, robbed after winning thousands at casino
Special to the Tribune
6:01 p.m. CDT, April 15, 2014
Palos Heights police officers investigate
Palos Heights police officers talk on the 7900 block of West 131st St. (Kevin Coyne, for the Tribune / April 15, 2014)
A man who won thousands of dollars at a casino Monday was shot and robbed this morning in his Palos Heights home, authorities said.

Palos Heights police are searching for two men in their 20s or 30s who entered the home through the back door, struck the victim with a blunt object and demanded his winnings from the riverboat casino.

Deputy Chief Dave Delaney said police were notified around 3:30 a.m. and dispatched officers to the 7900 block of West 131st Street.

“He had been at a gambling boat earlier in the night and had won a large amount of cash,” Delaney said. “It is believed that he was targeted due to his winnings at the boat.”

Scott Farrow, 51, was unable to recall the exact amount of money he had won at the riverboat but police estimate that his winnings were “several thousands of dollars.”

When Farrow refused to relinquish his winnings one of the men shot Farrow in the abdomen. Farrow fled to his neighbor’s house who then called police and medical personnel.

Paramedics took Farrow to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he underwent surgery this morning. He was listed in serious but stable condition, Delaney said this afternoon.

“We are trying to talk to the victim, but he’s been in and out due to the pain medication,” Delaney said.

Crime scene tape encircled both Farrow and his neighbor’s home this morning while several police cars ushered traffic in front of both homes.

Local schools were notified of the incident but police believe there is no immediate threat to the community.

Police hope surveillance video from the casino where the Farrow was gambling the night prior to the shooting will help to identify the assailants. Farrow provided police with two riverboats and was unclear which one he attended Monday night, authorities said. Police said they are looking into both casinos before identifying them.

The shooting was the first in Palos Heights in at least 24 years, Delaney said.

“We haven’t had any shootings, outside of suicide, in the 24 years that I’ve been here,” Delaney said.

“The last homicide I can recall was at the Shell station in the early ’80s.”,0,6001541.story


Democrat Maura Healey backs casino law repeal

Democrat Maura Healey backs casino law repeal

By Matt Murphy
State House News Service

Posted Apr. 15, 2014 @ 6:51 pm
Updated at 6:53 PM

BOSTON — Democrat Maura Healey, a candidate for attorney general, came out in opposition to expanded gambling on Monday, throwing her support behind a proposed ballot question that would make casino gambling illegal in Massachusetts.

Healey, a former assistant attorney general under Attorney General Martha Coakley, also broke with her former boss in arguing the proposed ballot question that would, in essence, repeal the 2011 expanded gaming law should be allowed to proceed to the ballot. Coakley ruled it ineligible, but proponents are fighting her decision in court.

“I’m opposed to expanded casino gaming and I support the current effort to repeal of the gaming law. I do not believe a modern economy that is focused on creating opportunities for every person can be built on gambling,” Healey wrote on the liberal Democrat blog Blue Mass Group. “The few communities that have voted in favor of casinos are going through tough economic times and many see casinos as a much-needed boost. But evidence from across the country tells a different story. Casinos don’t lay a foundation for diverse economies, they take over.”

Healey is running for the Democratic nomination for attorney general against former state Sen. Warren Tolman. A spokesman for Tolman could not immediately be reached for comment, but Tolman has said previously he does not support repealing the casino law.

Healey said the experience of communities around the country where casinos have been located is that local restaurants and entertainment venues lose patrons, personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures jump and the cost for police and other services skyrocket.

Speaking to some areas beyond the reach of the attorney general’s office, she advocated instead for infrastructure development, investments in education and job training, a more “progressive tax structure,” an increase in the minimum wage and “unionizing our workforce” to help create jobs and prepare residents for the modern economy.

If casinos are allowed to be built, Healey said she would hire the “best lawyers” for a newly formed Gaming Division in the Attorney General’s office that the gaming industry should pay for. She also said she would create a team of investigators to be stationed full-time in casinos to monitor for abusive or predatory practices.

Coakley in September declined to certify the ballot proposal to prohibit casinos based on her determination that contract rights are considered property and may not be “taken” by an initiative petition. Her office contends that applicants for casino licenses have an “implied contractual right” and an expectation that the licensing process will play out as set forth in the expanded gaming law.

The organizers behind the ballot question argue that prospective casino developers entered the licensing process knowing that the law legalizing expanded gambling in Massachusetts could be changed at any time. The Supreme Judicial Court is expected to hear arguments in the case the first week in May.

Page 2 of 2 - “The opinion stated that it is improper to shut down the licensing process now that several casino operators have applied. But voters made a decision to shut down the greyhound tracks with a ballot question and that was an industry that had been running for years,” Healey wrote in her blog post. “I am not concerned about the well-being of casino operators. I am concerned about the well-being of the residents of Massachusetts. The final decision is up to the courts, but I believe on a matter of this magnitude, the voters should have a chance to be heard.”