Meetings & Information


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Senator Menard: Ever Faithful Supporter!

This was posted as a 'comment' but deserves to stand alone to watch the discussion, as well as the Senate President's admonishment about raising this issue.

Joan Menard Senate Casino Amendment Debate 06/30/2010 from FallRiver Kid on Vimeo.

June 30, 2010. MA State Senator Joan Menard told her fellow senators that she said she knew nothing (a la Sergeant Schultz) about the casino restriction on the 300 acres of land that she herself was instrumental in getting set aside for biotech development. In addition, her claim that this is not a Article 97 issue is not based on fact.

Joan Menard Senate Casino Amendment Debate 06/30/2010

OR -

Senator Rosenberg: Trust?

Just when you might believe that Senator Rosenberg had depleted his reservoir of dumb comments, like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps on going!

Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Northampton) said much of the final process will be up to Patrick - but added he trusts the governor to make the right call.

“There’s no way the governor is going to appoint anybody with mob connections,” Rosenberg said.

If we trust the current Governor, does he have lifetime tenure?

What happened to those false promises that you were going to 'get it right,' Senator? You keep saying you reviewed the regulatory structures around the country. How could you overlook this?

Let's remember it was Senate President "Cha Ching" Murray who appointed Senator Rosenberg as her "Lap Dog" on all things casino and is responsible for this grossly flawed legislation she's trying to cram through.

Gaming experts slam casino bill

A bill that would shut the public out from the decision of who sits on the powerful commission that oversees casinos has come under fire from gaming experts, who warn that the industry is rife with mobster connections and double-dealing hucksters.

“Transparency is essential,” said Bill Thompson, a national gambling expert at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. “It’s an attractive industry for corrupt people, and they’ll try to get an angle through politics or the board.”

The criticism comes as the state Senate inched closer to approving legislation legalizing three resort casinos - and giving Gov. Deval Patrick the upper hand when it comes to appointing those who will oversee Bay State gaming.

The bill under review by senators would allow Patrick to pick a three-member board charged with administering and enforcing gaming laws. The governor also would get to tap three out of five members on a gaming commission with the power to approve casino licenses.

The bill details stringent criminal and financial background checks for the appointees - but stops short of demanding any public vetting process.

“The governor clearly demonstrated through his original legislation that he supports a qualified and independent authority held to the highest ethical standards to oversee any expanded gaming in the commonwealth,” said spokeswoman Kofi Jones.

Patrick’s original casino legislation required board members to file an annual financial statement and banned them from getting jobs with any industry connected to gaming for three years before or after serving on the board. He’d also adhere to the state’s conflict of interest law when selecting candidates as he does for every board, Jones said.

But critics said the boards should open the selection process to the public beyond what’s already on the books.

“The public has to have confidence in these people . . . these are not ordinary boards,” said casino foe and former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger. “This is one of those times when we ought to give extra weight to a public and open selection process for these key decision makers.”

Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Northampton) said much of the final process will be up to Patrick - but added he trusts the governor to make the right call.

“There’s no way the governor is going to appoint anybody with mob connections,” Rosenberg said.

State Treasurer Tim Cahill, who would be able to appoint one commission member if the bill becomes law, said potential appointees should detail their political contributions.

“It needs to be independent of the governor and of any of us. It needs to be as nonpolitical as possible,” Cahill said.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's Kinda Interesting ....

that Senator "Not Rocket Science" Rosenberg would bring up the issue of Attorney credibility today.

Cape Cod Today posted this ---

Perry ally Dan Webster's Law License suspended
Plymouth State Rep charged with "non-compliance"

We got a tip over the weekend that State Rep Dan Webster (R) Plymouth had his law license suspended.

A call to the Mass. Board of Bar Overseers (MBBO) confirmed his license to practice law had been suspended as of June 28, 2010 for "non-cooperation", whatever that means.

Webster was also fined $1,000 by OCPF last January for failure to comply with campaign finance law by the Office of Campaign & Finance.

When Beacon Hill can't assure integrity and compliance, and MBBO is forced to police legislators, something is wrong.


Regarding the inaccurate information stated by Senator "Not Rocket Science" Rosenberg, a friend and regular reader responded --

In the Middleboro region we were lied to by "competent attorneys" also who failed to mention the Carcieri challenge which they knew about.

Before Carcieri v. Salazar, the state had an Indian gaming attorney testify at the 2008 casino hearings, and the best she could say was that in her mind, it was possible. IGA's make their money on Indian gaming and do not want to believe they could find themselves without half of their potential clients.

The BIA is staffed almost completely by Indians, and have repeatedly failed to acknowledge the Hawaii SCOTUS decision.

The Tribe is trying to scare the state, and the State eagerly complies.

I can't speak for Senator Spilka but Senator Morrissey was clueless about Carcieri v. Salazar at a late 2008 debate in New Bedford. He even admitted it once we clued him in.

Being an Attorney means nothing. We've been lied to by plenty of attorneys. There are competent attorneys who helped file and argue Carcieri v. Salazar.

The Mashpee can open a bingo hall (class II - on their own reservation land - if they have reservation land - which they don't) But what is the financial incentive? The Seminoles could not make a good profit with bingo and repeatedly tried to get slots, ad their nearest competitors were 600 miles, not 2 hours, away.

We've researched this exhaustively for 3 years - we are stakeholders - and others have researched it for 20.

It's not a difference of opinions - it's a senator who provides other senators with inaccurate information to fuel his private agenda.

A promised chairmanship perhaps?

Senator Rosenberg: Wipe the egg off your face!

Because the Senators behave like a bunch of adolescents and the conduct of business is barely audible when sitting in the Senate Chamber, the live video at home where the continuous chatter is filtered out was far more productive and listening in the background as the inaccurate discussion of Indian Gaming arose was most distressing.

Although attention was divided, Senator Rosenberg apparently circulated a memo to his colleagues that contains some egregious misinformation, distorts the history of the CT Slot Parlors, and pretends to use LIT (Land into Trust) as the threat posed to immediately approve the grossly flawed and hastily composed Casino Legislation being debated before the Senate.

It was clear from listening to Senator Rosenberg's description that he has never read "Without Reservation" that was distributed to each member of the legislature at one time when the Aquinnah proposed a casino on the Plymouth waterfront.

It is my understanding (and I'll post the transcripts when available), that the Senators believe Carcieri v Salazer poses some imminent threat.

Because the comments I heard Senator Rosenberg make were so totally wrong, the following email was sent to him --

Honorable Senator Rosenberg:

You are incorrect in the comments you made about
Land Into Trust.

Both Carcieri v Salazar and the Hawaii decision PREVENT

The Hawaii decision was signed onto by a majority of
Attorneys General.

SCOTUS and Hawaii Being Ignored

To justify this legislation for the incorrect reason you offered is

Massachusetts does NOT find itself in a comparable situation
to Connecticut.

Texas has successfully prevented Tribal Casinos because they
have NOT legalized slots.

In addition, if you truly believe the 'threat' posed by Native
American Tribes, you need to be aware that there are an
additional 6 or possibly 8 Massachusetts Tribes that have
filed for recognition.


The following represents the reply from Senator Rosenberg --

We have consulted with competent legal council and with the BIA and they say the Mashpee will get land in trust within a reasonable period of time. They appear to be the only tribe in the foreseeable future that is expected to get there and be able to install gaming.

If the state does nothing there is ample precedents for class II machines with no taxation, community mitigation or regulation. This has been thoroughly researched and documented. I am not the only Senator researching these issues. Senator Morrissey and Spilka both of whom are attorneys have also researched this exhaustively and have come to the same conclusions.

I know this conflicts with your perspective but it is an honest difference of opinions.

Stan Rosenberg

This is NOT a difference of opinion, honest or otherwise.

It is my recollection that the Massachusetts Attorney General signed on to the Hawaii decision.

This was posted in 2009 --

SCOTUS and Hawaii Being Ignored

Within weeks of the 8-1 Carcieri v Salazar decision, a second
strike on fee to trust was issued. This time it came from a case
originating in the state of Hawaii. In the 9-0 decision on Hawaii
v. the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Justice Alito wrote, "It would
raise grave constitutional concerns" Congress sought to "cloud
Hawaii's title to its sovereign lands" after it had joined the
Union. "We have emphasized that Congress cannot, after
statehood reserve or convey....lands that have already been
bestowed upon a state". How many readers of this paper could
be effected by issues concerning land that has been "bestowed
upon a state"; as an original colony, through disestablished
territory or when the territory entered into statehood?

The research and fact finding of this process have been conspicuously lacking.

Senator Rosenberg, NO ONE, not even you can offer a cost for the bureaucracy you're creating.

Senator, you need to do your research and not simply find a colleague who believes he/she has offered an opinion.

At NO TIME have I heard any Senator address that the SCOTUS Hawaii decision negates your argument.

There will be NO TRIBAL CASINO ON TRUST LAND IN THE COMMONWEALTH, unless these folks in the Senate approve this folly.

In addition, I would call it to your attention that the Mashpee Wampanoags' historical connections to Middleboro have been challenged, but their historical connections to Fall River? Surely you jest?

I remember when Glenn Marshall told us it was INEVITABLE and THOSE SHOVELS WOULD BE IN THE GROUND ......

Senate President Murray: How Much Did This Cost?

Senate President "Cha Ching" Murray called for a special Saturday session of the Senate to debate Casino Amendments and then didn't appear herself.

This surely required staffing on overtime, at a time when major cuts are transpiring.

Mass. Senate denied Saturday session on gambling

Senators present at the session's beginning were Tarr, Baddour, Tolman, Thomas McGee, Anthony Petruccelli, Richard Moore, Susan Fargo, Susan Tucker and Patricia Jehlen. Moments later, Sens. Jennifer Flanagan, Sonia Chang-Diaz and Gail Candaras arrived, followed by Sens. James Eldridge, Marc Pacheco and, after the session ended, Thomas Kennedy

Ameristar Casino: 27 animals found in hot car

The article below highlights one of the many problems created by Slot Parlors by whatever elegant appearance - Gambling Addiction that causes patrons to abandon their children and pets in unsafe conditions.

It also debunks the oft-repeated myth about "Destination Resort Casinos" attracting a 'different demographic' when a homeless patrons seeks her fortune at the slot machines.

27 animals found in hot car in St. Charles, Mo.

ST. CHARLES, Mo. Twenty-five cats and two dogs are expected to recover after being rescued from a hot car parked outside a casino while their owner was inside gambling., the website for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reported Monday that the owner has relinquished the animals to the city of St. Charles.

It happened Sunday, when temperatures in St. Charles were in the 90s with high humidity. Someone called 911 after seeing the animals inside a Chevrolet Lumina in the parking garage at the Ameristar Casino.

Police say the animals had no water but some food scattered on the car's floor. The windows were cracked open.

Authorities believe the woman had arrived about 25 minutes earlier. She told police she is homeless and living in the car.

Ameristar Casinos in Kansas City and Suburban St. Louis Now Operating With No Loss Limit or Player Identification Card Requirement
LAS VEGAS, NV--(Marketwire - November 7, 2008) - In compliance with an order issued earlier today by the Missouri Gaming Commission, guests at Ameristar Casino Hotel Spa in St. Charles and Ameristar Casino Hotel in Kansas City may now buy in for more than $500 at any time and are no longer required to obtain player identification cards before entering the casino floor.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Senator Stanley Rosenberg: Trust Me?

Senator "Cha Ching" Murray, with her mind clearly made up, appointed Senator "Lap Dog" Rosenberg as her "Point Person" to travel around the country and to Canada on the taxpayers' dime to justify approving slot machine gambling in the Commonwealth.

Senator Rosenberg assures all who will listen without questioning his rhetoric that he's done his research, examined the issue and met with regulatory agencies, blah, blah, blah.

With all of those assurances, wouldn't a questioning person reasonably expect that Senator Rosenberg would post that taxpayer funded information on his web site?

Where is that taxpayer funded research we've heard so much about? To which communities did he travel? Where are the comparisons of crime and gambling addiction statistics? He proclaims that 'economic growth' can co-exist with casinos. Where?

While the Senator assures that Beacon Hill will 'get it right,' get what right? What are the problems you witnessed that you intend to prevent?

Offering LOANS?

The Senator was quoted as saying the following --

“This is a real issue, and we’re trying to find a solution. All I can say is, first things first: Get the bill signed into law and set up a regulatory agency. It will be 18 to 19 months before licenses get issued, and during that period of time we need to find a resolution to this.’’

Set up a REGULATORY AGENCY for which you can't even provide a cost?
Why the rush, Senator? To please the lobbyists who fill the Halls if it's going to take 18-19 months?


It sounds like another BIG DIG to me!

Senator, when you have failed to make this information publicly available, this isn't Rocket Science, now is it?

Senator, as a footnote, I called your office several times during this process and none of your staffers was familiar with United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.

Maybe I'm wrong, but that tells me you frankly don't give a damn about the facts and the impacts or the voters. It might seem that you care more about the pending Chairmanship you've been promised for being a "Point Person." What a pity that you place serving yourself ahead of the disastrous legacy you'll leave the Commonwealth.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Senator Pacheco dismisses casino crimes

Watching the Gullible Massachusetts Senate repeat carefully scripted Casino KoolAid, one Senator who represents Middleboro, Senator "Racino" Pacheco poo-pooed the increased crime that accompanies slot parlors by whatever euphemistic label.

Coincidentally, the compilation of articles and reports below was posted.

Although it is expected that the Senator will dismiss factual information, it is important to note the facts.

Gambling and Crime

Polls show that most Americans assume an association between gambling and increased criminal activity. The gambling industry offers hearty denials and various statistical manipulations attempting to counter this perception. Data from gambling communities across the country, however, indicates that gambling does indeed foster a significant increase in crime.

An estimated 40 percent of white-collar crime is committed by gambling addicts. Research suggests that $1.3 billion per year in insurance fraud alone is related to gambling.[1]

In the first six years of casinos in Minnesota, the crime rate in counties with casinos increased more than twice as fast as in non-casino counties. According to an analysis by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the median crime rate in casino counties rose 39 percent during that period as compared to an 18 percent increase in non-casino counties.[2]

The total number of crimes within a 30-mile radius of Atlantic City increased by 107 percent in the nine years following the introduction of casinos to Atlantic City.[3]

According to a study by Earl Grinols, a city can expect its crime rate to increase by about 8 percent after four or five years of introducing casinos.[4]

The Mississippi Gulf Coast experienced a 43 percent increase in crime in the four years after casinos arrived. Harrison County, where most of the Gulf Coast casinos are located, witnessed a 58 percent increase in total crimes between 1993 and 1996. [5]

A U.S. News & World Report analysis found crime rates in casino communities to be 84 percent higher than the national average. Further, while crime rates nationally dropped by 2 percent in 1994, the 31 localities that introduced casinos in 1993 saw an increase in crime of 7.7 percent the following year.[6]

57 percent of 400 surveyed Gamblers Anonymous members admitted to stealing in order to maintain their gambling habits. "Collectively, they stole $30 million, for an average of $135,000 per individual."[7]

The number of court cases filed in Tunica County, Mississippi, went from 689 in 1991, the year before casinos began operating there, to 11,100 in 1996.[8]

The annual number of calls to the Ledyard, Connecticut police department jumped from 4,000 to 16,700 within five years after the opening of the nearby Foxwoods Casino. [9]

University of Illinois professor, John Kindt, reported that 1.5 million people or 0.5 percent of the U.S. population became new criminals from 1994 to 1997 as a direct correlation to states' government-sponsored legalized gambling. The cost for this rise in crime ranged from $12 billion to $15 billion.[10]

University of Nevada-Las Vegas researchers concluded that the state of Wisconsin experiences an average of 5,300 additional major crimes a year due to the presence of casinos in that state. They also attributed an additional 17,100 arrests for less-serious crimes each year to the existence of casino gambling.[11]

Nevada ranked first in crime rates among the fifty states in both 1995 and 1996, based on an analysis of FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. Further, the violent crime rate in Nevada increased by close to 40 percent from 1991 to 1996, a period in which the national violent crime rate dropped by approximately 10 percent.[12]

The San Jose, California, police department reported significant increases in crime in the vicinity of a new cardroom in the year after its opening. Narcotics offenses increased by 200 percent, property crimes by 83 percent, petty thefts by 56 percent, auto thefts by 21 percent, and traffic accidents by 55 percent in a single year.[13]

The number of police calls in Black Hawk, Colorado, increased from 25 a year before casinos to between 15,000 and 20,000 annually after their introduction. In neighboring Central City, the number of arrests increased by 275 percent the year after casinos arrived. In Cripple Creek, Colorado, serious crime increased by 287 percent in the first three years after casinos.[14]

The annual number of felony cases filed in Lawrence County, South Dakota, has increased by approximately 69 percent since the introduction of casinos to Deadwood. [15]

Half of Louisiana District Attorneys surveyed in 1995 noted gambling as a factor in rising crime rates in their jurisdictions.[16]

1 The American Insurance Institute.
2 Dennis J. McGrath and Chris Ison, "Gambling Spawns a New Breed of Criminal," [Minneapolis] Star Tribune, December 4, 1995, p. A6.
3 Andrew J. Buck, Simon Hakim, and Uriel Spiegel, "Casinos, Crime and Real Estate Values: Do They Relate?," Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, August 1991, p. 295.
4 Earl Grinols, "Measuring Industry Externalities: The Curious Case of Casinos and Crime," March 2001.
5 Robert Waterbury, "1996 Mississippi Coast Crime Statistics," Mississippi Coast Crime Commission, May 1997.
6 Joseph P. Shapiro, "America's Gambling Fever," U.S. News & World Report, January 15, 1996, pp. 58, 60.
7 National Gambling Impact Study Commission, page 7-13, citing testimony from the Institute for Problem Gambling, 1999.
8 Bartholomew Sullivan, "Once-Sleepy Tunica Awakens to Gambling-Inspired Crime," [Memphis] Commercial Appeal, October 20, 1997, p. A5.
9 Mayor Wesley J. Johnson, Sr., "Fiscal Impacts of Foxwoods Casino on the Town of Ledyard, Connecticut," April 1997.
10 Dr. John Kindt, "The Costs of Addicted Gamblers: Should the State Initiate Mega-Lawsuits Similar to the Tobacco Cases?" Managerial and Decision Economics, December 2001.
11 William N. Thompson, Ricardo Gazel, and Dan Rickman, "Casinos and Crime in Wisconsin: What's the Connection?" Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Report, November 1996.
12 Ed Koch, "Nevada: Most Dangerous?" Las Vegas Sun, July 16, 1997, p. 1A.
13 Louis A. Cobarruviaz, City of San Jose Memorandum from the Chief of Police to the Mayor and City Council, October 27, 1995.
14 J. Joseph Curran, Jr., "The House Never Loses and Maryland Cannot Win: Why Casino Gaming Is a Bad Idea," Report of Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., on the Impact of Casino Gaming on Crime, October 16, 1995, pp. 9, 12.
15 Information provided by the Eighth Circuit Court of South Dakota, November 12, 1997.
16 Greg Garland, "Crime Rising with Gambling: Bad Checks, Theft Show Biggest Gain," [Baton Rouge, La.] Advocate, July 30, 1995, p. 1A.

Senator Menard: Ever Faithful Supporter!

Senator Joan Menard, the every-faithful supporter of bringing Malaysian Investors to Fall River offered the Amendments below. It is unclear whether either is enforceable under Federal law.

REDRAFT - Clerk #105

Rules, Regulations and Payments

Ms. Menard moves to amend the bill (Senate, No. 2495), in Section 69, subsection (c), by striking out clause (i), in lines 2786 through 2789 inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following clause:-

(i) the tribe shall be subject to all laws, statutes, and bylaws of the commonwealth, the host community, and any other properly constituted legal body, including chapter 23K of the General Laws; provided, however, that a fair and comparable payment in lieu of taxes may be substituted for any tax or fee required by the commonwealth; and


Indian Rights

Ms. Menard moves to amend the bill (Senate, No. 2495), in Section 13 by striking out in lines 920 to 922 the following words:- “and whether the tribe has entered into an agreement with the commonwealth to waive its rights under the Indian Regulatory Gaming act, 25 U.S.C. sections 2701, et. seq.”

Senator "NIMBY" Hart

Frankly, who wants a casino in their backyard?

No one!

In fact, were a statewide referendum on the November ballot, it would fail miserably because more people OPPOSE gambling, casinos, racinos and slot parlors in their backyards.

To avoid that threat, one Casino Cheerleading Senator proposed to exempt his district, his neighborhood.

Fair is fair, Senator.

All communities should be equally at risk when you vote on this grossly flawed bill.


Prohibiting Operation of a Resort Style Casino or Gaming Facility
In the South Boston Waterfront / Seaport District Area

Mr. Hart moves to amend the bill (Senate, No. 2495), in Section 17(a), by inserting at the end of line 1177, “Notwithstanding the above, a gaming license shall not issue to operate, build or construct a resort style casino or any type of gaming facility in the South Boston Waterfront / Seaport District, City of Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Giving Casinos Unfair Advantage over Local Businesses

There was floor debate regarding increased DUIs and the unfair advantage provided to casinos in the flawed legislation.

One need only consider the increased DUIs reported in CT in areas surrounding the CT Slot Parlors that were documented in the Spectrum Gaming Report, prepared for the CT DOSR, available here.
One must wonder HOW is Beacon Hill 'getting it right' ?



Ms. Fargo moves to amend the bill (Senate No. 2495), by striking paragraph (4) of subsection (d) of Section 17 of SECTION 13 in its entirety and inserting in place thereof the following paragraph:- “(4) A licensee under this section shall not be permitted to distribute alcohol free of charge.”.

Another Consumer Protection Denied

Although Senator "Lap Dog" Rosenberg repeated the Casino Cheer leading rhetoric that Massachusetts would somehow 'get it right,' below is one of the amendments that would have offered a small degree of consumer protection that was defeated --

Rejected RC 307 (9-30)

Monthly Statements & Loss Data by Zip Code

Mr. Eldridge moves that the bill be amended in line 338 by inserting the following new definition:-

“Rewards card,” a card issued to patrons that tracks the amount of money and/or time spent gaming in order to determine the value of provisions or complimentary services to their patrons.

And in line 1958 after the words “Section 36.” adding the following:- (a)

And in line 1967 by inserting at the end thereof the following new subsections:-

(b): Licensees are required to issue a monthly statement to each patron who has been issued a rewards card or participates in a cashless wagering system by the gambling establishment, including total bets, wins and losses.

(c): On an annual basis, licensees are required to report to the commission the amount of money spent and lost by patrons who have been issued a rewards card or who have participated in a cashless wagering system, aggregated by zip code. Notwithstanding any special or general laws to the contrary, this report shall be considered public record.

Another Consumer Protection Discarded


Banning Credit Card Cash Advances and Wire Transfers in Casinos

Mr. Eldridge moves that the bill be amended in line 1392 by inserting at the end thereof the following new subsection:-

(x) No licensee shall permit on its premises any credit card or ATM machine which would permit a patron to obtain a cash advance on said patron’s credit card. Similarly, no service shall be permitted on the premise of a licensed gambling establishment which would permit a patron to receive funds via wire transfer.

Senate Rejects Protection in Favor of Industry

In spite of Senator "Lap Dog" Rosenberg's pretense that he was going to 'do it right,' and avoid the problems Slot Gambling has caused elsewhere, it's clear that it's simply hollow rhetoric and genuflecting to the wealthy investors and lobbyists who prowl the halls.

Let's be honest - something Beacon Hill seems incapable of these days.

We all know that regardless of the safeguards put into place to protect and defend consumers, the false job creation figures will never materialize because they were overstated.

The false revenue projections won't materialize because they are conspicuously overstated.

When they fail to materialize, the Gambling Investors will return, whine and cry that they can't make enough money and simply MUST expand. They'll tell you it's the Smoking Ban, not enough slot machines, they'll weasel out of the tax rate.

They'll erode ANY restrictions, in spite of the pretense by Senator "Stan, the Man" Rosenberg.

And when revenues fail to materialize, Beacon Hill will be forced to increase the numbers of venues to fill an ever increasing budget gap because for every $1 in tax revenue provided by the Gambling Industry, the taxpayer cost is at least $3.

Even Stan, the Man will acknowledge OFF THE RECORD that the bill is grossly flawed, the revenue and jobs will never materialize.

Maybe it's time to develop a conscience, Senator.


Prohibition on Casinos Extending Credit

Mr. O’Leary moves to amend the bill (S2495) by striking Section 21 and inserting the following new section: -

“Section 21

a. No gaming licensee, establishment, nor any person acting on behalf of a licensee or establishment shall: (i) be permitted to issue credit to a patron of a gaming establishment; (ii) cash any check, make any loan or otherwise provide or allow to a person any credit or advance of anything of value, or which represents value, to enable a person to place a wager; or (iii) release or discharge debt, either in whole or in part, or make a loan which represents any losses incurred by a player in gaming activity, without maintaining a written record of the release or discharge under the rules of the commission. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an establishment from accepting credit cards for non-gaming related purchases.

b. The commission shall establish by regulation, under section 5, procedures and standards for approving promotional gaming credits; provided, that, no such credit shall be reported as a promotional gaming credit by an operator of a gaming establishment unless the operation can establish that the credit was issued by the gaming establishment and received from a patron as a wager at a game in the gaming establishment; provided, further, that such promotional gaming credit shall not be taxable for purposes of determining gross income

c. Debt collections under this section and debt collection regulations promulgated under section 5 shall be limited to key gaming employees or attorneys acting directly on behalf of gamin licensees; provided further that a key gaming employee shall be prohibited from making any such collections if the key gaming employee serves as a junket representative for the gaming establishment.”

Surrounding Communities Have No Voice

Studies indicate that communities within a 50 mile radius will be impacted with increased crime and certainly with increased public safety costs, yet every measure that is attempted to allow those communities to have a voice are deliberately stymied by Beacon Hill in spite of false promises to 'get it right.'

Rejected RC 302 (9-30)

Referendum for surrounding communities

Mr. Eldridge moves that the bill be amended in line 885 by striking subsection (7) of Section 12 in its entirety and inserting in place thereof the following:-

(7) has received a certified and binding vote in favor of such license on a ballot question at an election in the host community and in any community abutting the host community and any community within 15 miles of the proposed gaming establishment; provided further that such binding votes shall be conducted not less than 90 days after the execution of a signed agreement between the host community and the applicant as provided in subsection (10); provided further that any city, town, or district that holds an election shall be reimbursed for its expenses related to the election by the applicant. The applicant shall submit to the commission certified letters from the clerk of the host community and all abutting communities and/or communities within 15 miles of the proposed facility with a true copy of the vote taken by each community;

Local Input Denied

The Senate denied consideration of a cost/benefit analysis because they know communities will be adversely impacted and want to deny voters that information.

The Senate rejected an amendment that would have considered the costs and impacts of any proposed casino, denying the rights of Massachusetts citizens, in spite of the pretense by vocal proponents that Massachusetts is somehow going to 'do this right.'

This is a denial of local control at the urging of wealthy Gambling Investors.

There are numerous reports and letters of concern available here that have been ignored.

Rejected RC 300 (13-26)

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Mr. Brewer moves to amend the bill by inserting at the end a new section:

SECTION XXXX: The executive office of administration and finance shall complete a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of expanding gaming in the Commonwealth. The analysis will include but not be limited to expected revenues, including income and property tax revenues, licensing fees, and regional economic development; job creation; welfare utilization; infrastructure expansion and maintenance thereof; municipal and regional mitigation compensation; state and regional oversight expenses, including additional state and regional personnel, equipment, and overtime compensation; and social mitigation, including gambling addiction services, domestic violence services and financial counseling. The executive office of administration and finance shall complete the analysis and submit the report to the senate committee on ways and means, the house committee on ways and means and the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies by July 1, 2011. No license for a gaming establishment shall be issued prior to the completion of the analysis. Should the analysis find that expenses exceed projected revenues, no gaming license shall be issued.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Governor Patrick tosses 308,580 under the Casino Bus

The U.S. Census indicates that (in 2009) the population of Masschusetts was 6,593,587, of which 78%, or

5,142,998 are adults.

Senator Rosenberg, the "Point Person" for all things casino in the Massachusetts Senate is willing to toss 6% of those folks under the Casino Bus because the Gambling Industry tells him that GAMBLING ADDICTION only effects 6% of the population.

That's --

308,580 Adults and Families

Governor Patrick: How could you?

Senator Richard T. "Debt Collector" Moore

In an effort to appease wealthy casino investors who support Native American Tribes in their quest for recognition to casino shop, Senator Richard Moore would turn the Commonwealth into a Collection Agency for those wealthy investors.

For a little background: wealthy investors supported the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, offered advice that allowed Glenn Marshall to live an unearned lifestyle that landed him in federal prison, a la Jack Abramoff (via advice from Stephen Graham), and funded those campaign contributions that gained 'recognition,' and now Investors want their money, all very complicated. The Tribe, under new leadership, wants a better deal with Malaysian investors in Fall River. Little problem is that they have a deal with Middleboro and an Agreement with the investors that paid to get them here. Those investors signed an agreement with a


One Massachusetts Senator seeks to turn the Commonwealth into a collection agency for wealthy folks who have signed an agreement with a


and have no way of collecting. You forfeit your rights when you deal with Native American Tribes!

Profuse thanks from the wealthy investors in your failed attempts, Senator Richard T. "Debt Collector" Moore!

It doesn't get much better than this!

Investment Rights

Mr. Richard T. Moore moves to amend the bill (Senate, No. 2495), in Section 13, in the proposed chapter 23K, section 13, by inserting at the end thereof the following new subsection:-

(x) Any approved Native American tribe applying for selection pursuant to this chapter shall verify that it has recognized and acknowledged the financial investment or investment rights of any individual or entity which has made such investment to said tribe, its affiliates, its agents, or predecessor applicants of the tribe for the purpose of securing a gaming license for said tribe under its name or any subsidiary or affiliate since January 1, 2005.

Senator Karen "Amnesiac" Spilka?

Others highly praise Senator Spilka's legislative work, but what the Senator said this week was that the casino legislation currently being considered in Senate would create jobs and that NO ONE has disputed that. Beg to differ!

Sorry, Senator! But I attended your carefully scripted Love Fest as well as the Sham Hearings that were held.

It might appear that a hearing test would be in order, but since your hearing seems unimpaired, a case of amnesia perhaps? (Is the PC term "Memory Impaired" or simply "Selective Hearing" over the shouts of well paid lobbyists?)

Kathleen Norbut testified before you and her testimony and presentation is available on the United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts web site, under this heading --

Kathleen Norbut - President, United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts
•Written Testimony
Cost Benefit Poster
•Video of Presentation to the Committee


Who is Beacon Hill catering to? Just the Casino Industry?

Even the Spectrum Report prepared for the CT DOSR addressed "cannibalization" - losing local jobs because of the presence of glorified slot parlors.

That Spectrum Report? It's available here.

California Casinos Reaping Millions from Welfare Recipients

The grossly flawed casino bill making its way through the Massachusetts Senate has failed to consider the issue raised below because of great haste in concocting something/anything before the legislative session ends to please the Gambling Industry.

In spite of assurances that "we'll get it right," maybe they won't.

Where in the Massachusetts legislation is this probited?

California Casinos Reaping Millions from Welfare Recipients

It should come as no surprise to anyone that poor folks are among the most vulnerable "guests" at casinos. But news that casinos in California accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards, which are essentially ATM debit cards, has created an uproar, as it should. Jack Dolan, the Los Angeles Times reporter who broke the story, wrote that the cards are accepted at 32 of the state's 58 tribal casinos and 47 of the 90 poker rooms around the state. Talking about saturation! The withdrawals reportedly accounted for about $1.8 million since last October, so the loss to taxpayers is probably much higher. I'm sure that more careful investigation will show numbers in the millions of dollars.

Now, there is no question that this is reprehensible behavior on the part of the people who receive welfare benefits, but it's also reprehensible that this has been allowed to go on for who knows how long? Casino owners and operators don't care where the money that makes them billionaires comes from, as long as it keeps coming.

I hope this story will prompt some of the gifted journalists working in Detroit to take Jack Dolan's lead and do some investigative reporting of their own about the three Detroit Casinos, Greektown, MGM Grand, and MotorCity, and see what they come up with. We need to know how widespread this is, whether or not the rich people who run those casinos are looking the other way while welfare recipients waste away the money that's intended to help them through tough times.


Casino Capitalism

As Beacon Hill climbs a slippery slope, as the deaf and blind falsely believe they 'can do it right,' this article is apropos --

The Death of Las Vegas

There are quite a few U.S. cities that are complete and utter economic disaster zones in 2010 (Detroit for example), but there is something about the demise of Las Vegas that is absolutely stunning. In recent decades, Las Vegas has become a symbol for the over-the-top affluence and decadence of America. But now it is a microcosm of the economic nightmare that has gripped the entire nation. When the subprime mortgage crisis stuck, no major U.S. city was more devastated than Las Vegas. When the recession went from bad to worse, Americans decided that they really didn't need to gamble so much and casino revenues plummeted. Suddenly unemployment started to increase dramatically in Vegas and even today it continues to soar. Like so many other cities that are highly dependent on tourism and entertainment, Las Vegas has gone from boom to bust. Local officials are hoping that the worst will soon be over, but the truth is that the worst is yet to come. As the U.S. economy continues to unravel, average Americans will be spending what little money they do have to put a roof over their heads and to feed their families. The truth is that the glory days of Las Vegas are over and they are not coming back.

Already, the number of unemployed in Las Vegas is reaching unprecedented levels. Unemployment rates for the state of Nevada and for the city of Las Vegas both set new records during the month of April. In Las Vegas the unemployment rate in April was 14.2%. For the entire state the unemployment rate was 13.7%.

Of course those are just the "official" numbers. We all know that the "real" unemployment numbers are much higher.

For example, the "official" unemployment figure is about 14 percent in the state of Michigan right now. But if you actually believe that 86 percent of able-bodied workers in the state of Michigan are employed, then perhaps you would be interested in an offer to purchase the Golden Gate Bridge as well.

Elliott Parker, an economist at the University of Nevada, Reno says that the record-setting unemployment numbers in Nevada are just part of a larger trend....

"Nevada has been losing jobs since March 2008, and we are continuing to do so."

But where the state of Nevada and the city of Las Vegas have really been hammered is in the housing industry.

It is estimated that a whopping 65 percent of all homes in the state of Nevada are underwater.

Let that sink in for a bit.

65 percent of all home owners with a mortgage in the state of Nevada owe more than their homes are worth.

Talk about an implosion.

Nationally, the number of homes that are "underwater" is about 24 percent. That is an all-time record for the entire nation, but it doesn't come anywhere close to the nightmare that is unfolding in Nevada and in Las Vegas.

And the number of foreclosures taking place in Nevada is absolutely breathtaking.

According to RealtyTrac, Nevada is still ranked number one for foreclosure filings. In fact, one out of every 79 Nevada homes received a foreclosure filing in the month of May alone.

Nevada’s foreclosure rate is now five times the national average.

By just about any measure, the economy of Nevada is a complete and total disaster.

A reader recently sent an email describing the economic horror that is unfolding in Las Vegas. No matter what you may think about the city, the truth is that it is sad to see any great U.S. city fall to pieces like this....

"Las Vegas is a goner. The homeless population is out of control. The real estate is far worse than I have seen in the media (no surprise there). The towers of condos are ninety five percent vacant with zero activity. The streets and parks are in decline. Local governments are busy making cuts and fighting unions. When I ride the streets they are deserted, a big change from 2006. The major casino companies have all but moved the casinos out of Nevada. Rooms and restaurants have been closing for years, even while they finished the new projects. The entire town is a skeleton staff providing substandard service and decaying properties. I still work for one of the majors which is in bankruptcy. When the next wave hits there is nowhere to cut. It will be a game of dominoes with the Wynn properties the only ones left standing. I see the ninety nine cent breakfast making a comeback. The bullet train a day late and a few billion dollars short."

So is there any hope for Las Vegas?

Well, if the U.S. economy gets back up off of the operating table and roars back to life there is little doubt that millions of Americans would once again soon be flying there to gamble away their discretionary income.

But the truth is that any "revival" that is going to happen in Vegas is going to be very short-lived.

The U.S. economy as a whole is caught in a death spiral, and we are about to see a repeat of the housing crash that devastated Las Vegas so badly the first time around.

No, there really isn't any way that the death of Las Vegas can be avoided. Just like the U.S. economy as a whole, it is inevitably doomed. The numbers don't lie.

The grand total of all government, corporate and consumer debt in the United States is now equal to 360 percent of GDP. That is a far greater level than the U.S. ever approached during the Great Depression.

entire town is a skeleton staff providing substandard service and decaying properties. I still work for one of the majors which is in bankruptcy. When the next wave hits there is nowhere to cut. It will be a game of dominoes with the Wynn properties the only ones left standing. I see the ninety nine cent breakfast making a comeback. The bullet train a day late and a few billion dollars short."

So is there any hope for Las Vegas?

Well, if the U.S. economy gets back up off of the operating table and roars back to life there is little doubt that millions of Americans would once again soon be flying there to gamble away their discretionary income.

But the truth is that any "revival" that is going to happen in Vegas is going to be very short-lived.

The U.S. economy as a whole is caught in a death spiral, and we are about to see a repeat of the housing crash that devastated Las Vegas so badly the first time around.

No, there really isn't any way that the death of Las Vegas can be avoided. Just like the U.S. economy as a whole, it is inevitably doomed. The numbers don't lie.

The grand total of all government, corporate and consumer debt in the United States is now equal to 360 percent of GDP. That is a far greater level than the U.S. ever approached during the Great Depression.

Michael Snyder
The Economic Collapse

There goes that week ....

Nothing has been more enlightening than to be invisible and watch the arrogant casino lobbyists, clad in suits that cost more than my entire wardrobe of t-shirts and jeans, so full of themselves, they brag loudly about which provisions of the Casino Legislation they can "Live with."

The lobbyists communicate their assent and approval to Beacon Hill lawmakers, lest you believe your elected officials actually represent you.

Senator "Lap Dog" Rosenberg proudly described the transparency of the backdoor process that has been employed, patting himself on the back about all of his flawed research and refusing to actually listen.

Alrighty then, Senator, How about the sham Hearings that were conducted?

Minds were clearly pre-determined when Senator Spilka convened her Love Fest.

Carefully scripted by Bobble Heads, the Hearing denied the public any input, as Senators swooned to the rosy promises of Industry.

And the Ways & Means Hearings was even more disgraceful because you guys are supposed to be about money, aren't you? So, how much will that regulatory bureaucracy cost again?

Did we EVER hear them ask any questions indicating that they had any vague comprehension of how the Industry worked?
All things considered, a pretty despicable display!
More to come!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Casino Dollars Will Simply Pour In! Not!

SIMPLE MATH is not so simple on Beacon Hill!

God Bless Senator Tucker for offering a simple math lesson today!

Casino Shills, after counting Massachusetts license plates, have determined that CT Casinos get


Of that, at 25% tax, Massachusetts MIGHT collect


if Massachusetts 're-captured' 100% of that expenditure.

BUT - Innovation projects that Massachusetts will only 're-capture' about




Spectrum Gaming projected that the Massahcusetts Lottery would lose


with legalized casino gambling.

Then there's that Pesky MASSIVE STATE REGULATORY BUREAUCRACY that Senator Rosenberg doesn't want to put a number on - Is it $20 MILLION? $50 MILLION?

Sounds like a loser however you add and subtract.

Senator Tucker, A special thanks for doing the complicated math the rest of your colleagues can't do!

Bad Deal for the Commonwealth

Casino opponents warn of menace
Senate foes question state role in allowing gambling

BOSTON — With the state Senate appearing on the verge of approving legislation to open the state to casino gambling, the shrinking number of opponents in the Senate yesterday made a final pitch to stop the bill, saying casinos would be a menace to seniors, a cancer on the state’s economy and “a tax on the poor.”

Six members of the Senate took turns laying out their concerns at the Statehouse Tuesday, led by Sen. Susan C. Tucker, D-Andover, who said the legislation, slated for debate today, will promote the most predatory forms of gambling.

She said the Senate legislation aims to maximize profits for the state and casino owners, without regard to other economic and human costs.

Proponents of the three-casino plan have pointed to an $80,000 Senate-funded study by the Innovation Group that estimated three casinos would produce up to $460 million in annual state revenues and create more than 9,645 permanent casino jobs.

Ms. Tucker said that study was prepared by a firm with ties to the gambling industry and was used to justify parts of the bill that would waive the state’s workplace smoking ban for casinos; allow identification and tracking of potential gambling addicts for free promotions; allow free alcohol; and extend credit to those who lose all their money. She said job estimates do not count jobs at restaurants and other businesses competing with casino resorts that would be killed by gambling.

“We are here to question whether the role of state government is to encourage our citizens to gamble and gamble more,” Ms. Tucker said. She said she fully expects whatever safeguards are put in place now will be lifted by the state at the behest of influential casino operators once casinos are established.

“This is a bad deal for the commonwealth,” said Sen. James B. Eldridge, D-Acton. He also complained that the Senate study was tainted by ties to the industry, and said relying on that study to design casino law was like having foxes design the security system for a henhouse.

“The study is based on the idea that our only goal is to maximize jobs and revenue for the commonwealth, which apparently to them means first maximizing profits for casinos,” Mr. Eldridge said. “We should care about common-sense protections to prevent people from spending their life savings, retirement and Social Security checks,” he argued, instead of trying to maximize losses by casino customers.

Mr. Eldridge said the human costs will be high. “Every region where a casino has been legalized in the country there is an increased rate of domestic violence, divorce and crime and of assaults,” he said. He and other opponents complained that there has been no study on the social and economic costs of the Senate plan.

Sen. Patricia D. Jehlen, D-Somerville, who is chairwoman of the Elderly Affairs Committee, said casinos would have a major economic impact on the elderly. Even without casinos in the state, she said, gambling, including bingo, has displaced lunch with friends, movies and golf as a favorite leisure activity of seniors, even though four out of five people over 65 years old are not financially secure.

“When gambling is more available it becomes even more of a source of enjoyment and pleasure and financial ruin,” she said. Ms. Jehlen said seniors will get their money to gamble from reduced spending on consumer goods and from their savings, which she said, “will mean they have a less secure retirement.”

Sen. Susan C. Fargo, D-Lincoln, described casinos as “a cancer” on the state that would hurt other tourism. She said the state should not put profits over the health of the public by allowing smoking in casinos.

Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz, D-Boston, cited a study that showed lower-income working families will lose a larger percentage of their incomes to gaming, and the casino profits will be fueled by the paychecks of working men and women.

“The fundamental truth about this bill … is that it is a tax on the poor,” Ms. Diaz said. “We have the resources and the brainpower in Massachusetts to do better.”

Casinos will damage Cape Cod’s tourism brand, and that of the rest of the state over time, said Sen. Robert A. O’Leary, D-Barnstable.

The debate takes place as the state is scrambling to fill a potential $600 million hole in the budget for fiscal 2011 that begins July 1, a shortfall caused by congressional inaction on additional Medicaid funding for the state. Two days have been set aside for the debate, which will include action on 164 amendments.

The House has approved a bill for three casinos and racinos at each of the state’s four racetracks. Senate passage would set up a six-member joint House-Senate committee to work out a compromise bill.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick yesterday said he wants and expects to see a casino bill on his desk by the end of the month.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Sham of Beacon Hill and Senator Blabbity Blab

It was a privilege and revelation to witness a meeting with Senator Blabbity Blab whose arms seemed tired from patting himself on his back for all his hard work traveling to casinos near and far treated as a visiting dignitary and conducting his due diligence that he neglected to share, failing to figure out that his audience was carefully selected.

Unnamed casinos have been wildly successful.

They're not all like Atlantic City or Las Vegas after all.

Beacon Hill, after all knows how to do it RIGHT!

That must be why the bill is so flawed, right?

After all, we've been STUDYING this for 20 years!

Oh, sure, we can expect increased GAMBLING ADDICTION, but that is known and besides, what's a few souls tossed under the casino buses?
It's only 6% by Industry reckoning.

And that lopsided BENEFITS reports you just paid $80,000 for?

Simple! "We couldn't find anyone to do a rush job and sign their name to another phony report!"
Oh, sure. I know there won't be any real jobs created, but that's off the record. Sssshhhh! Don't tell anyone! It's just a scam!


"Well, you just can't expect us to do everything with your tax dollars now can you? Why don't you do it yourselves?"

Who would be foolish enough to even suggest that this governing body should assess a cost to the massive bureaucracy they're creating?
Those Raynham employees worried about their jobs?
They just might find out that it would be cheaper to provide a weekly paycheck to these folks than to fund the most recent Hack-O-Rama.
Have you read this DRAFT or whatever we're calling it?

Did you ever he him share that he researched --

1. poverty statistics
2. real life wages
3. crime statistics
4. increased suicides
5. increased personal bankruptcies
6. the list of issues not included is endless

But those Bright Flashing Lights?

Damn! They're nice!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day as Celebration of Family

Just as my nosy neighbor reminds us of Father's Day, Beacon Hill marches to the greatest single destroyer of families - Slot Parlors.

After conducting another flawed BENEFITS ONLY STUDY costing Massachusetts taxpayers another $80,000, Beacon Hill is content to proclaim "See! See! It says here it will create all of these low wage jobs!" allowing them to sleep easy, facts be damned! (And inflated estimates be damned, as well.)

Where are the costs?

If a Federal Study determined for every $1 in tax revenue expanded gambling provided, the cost to taxpayers was $3, how is it that Beacon Hill has a different funky math?

What other business would we grovel to invite into our Commonwealth that requires this legal mandate?


595 (17) require gaming establishments to develop security measures, including checking the

596 parking areas of the gaming establishment for unattended minors and animals every 2 hours

Sign on the dotted line

The Beacon Hill secret solution:

First, ply the patron with


1197 (4) A licensee under this section shall be permitted to distribute alcohol free of

1198 charge and for onpremise

consumption to patrons in the gaming area or as a complimentary

service or item in the gaming establishment;

Then allow the intoxicated patron to sign on the dotted line --

1483 Section 21. (a) A gaming licensee shall be permitted to issue credit to a patron of a
1484 gaming establishment under regulations promulgated under section 5. Such regulations shall
1485 include, but not be limited to: (i) procedures for confirming that a patron has an established credit
1486 history and is in good standing; (ii) whether the patron has a good credit history with the gaming
1487 establishment; (iii) authorization of a credit instrument; (iv) methods for acknowledging a credit
1488 instrument and payment of debt;

In an act that exceeds genuflecting to the well paid lobbyists who have monopolized the conversation, this represents devoted prostration.

Not to worry! Beacon Hill has included debt collection provisions in the legislation.

Five Reasons for Opposing Expanded Gambling in Mass.

Five Reasons for Opposing Expanded Gambling in Mass.
by: fberman

With the Mass. Senate due to vote on the expanded gambling legislation later this week, I thought I would share my list of five reasons for voting No. The first two reasons are all about jobs and economic development, because I agree with the people from organized labor who argue that putting people back to work should be our first priority. I just don't agree that legalizing predatory gambling is the right way to do it. The full list is at
Reason #1 - It's economic cannibalism, not economic development.

Although industry advocates talk about an untapped market with hundreds of millions of dollars in potential gambling revenues, the truth is that those dollars are currently being spent on other things: on the Lottery, on household and consumer goods, at local restaurants/bars, on movies/shows, etc. The gambling industry only makes money by re-directing that spending to casinos and slot machines -- cutting into Lottery revenues, eroding spending at existing local retail, restaurant, and entertainment businesses, and undermining the ability of those businesses to continue to provide employment and pay taxes.

Legislators have included provisions to replace lost Lottery revenues, but at a much higher cost to Mass. residents. Because the Lottery returns a much higher percentage of gross revenues as Local Aid to cities and towns than would a tax on casino/slot machine revenues, Mass. residents will have to gamble away a lot more money to casinos and slot machines to make up for the lost Lottery revenues.

Proposed legislation contains no such hold-harmless provisions to save the local businesses and jobs that will fall victim to competition with casinos. Without the kind of cost/benefit analysis that accounts for this cannibalization of local economies -- an analysis that industry advocates have understandably resisted -- all we have to go on is the experience of other communities that have watched their traditional local economies fall victim to predatory gambling expansion.

Predicting the impact of re-directed consumer spending isn't rocket science. There are only two potential sources of gambling revenues: in-state residents and out-of-state tourists. Earlier debates about casinos featured talk about attracting gambling tourists. Reality has set in, however, and proponents acknowledge that with "destination casinos" in an increasing number of states, local gambling concerns will have to depend on the patronage of Massachusetts residents for the overwhelming majority of their revenue.

Proponents estimate that Mass. residents spend about $1.1 billion annually on gambling trips to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Twin Rivers in Rhode Island. The Spectrum Report talks about recapturing half of that, or approximately $550 million, of which 27% or $148 million would be paid in State taxes. [] If that $148 million were all that proponents were promising, the Legislature wouldn't be seriously considering introducing Class 3 gambling into the State, with all its related problems and costs. Proponents' revenue estimates are much higher, based on assumptions that Massachusetts residents could potentially spend another $1-2 billion on in-state casino/slot machine gambling, if given the opportunity.

That is $1-2 billion in addition to the $1.1 billion that is reportedly going to out-of-state gambling concerns, and the $4.7 billion that Mass. residents annually spend on Lottery products. Of course, like casino/slot machine gambling, Lottery spending -- which averages out to $720/person/year and upwards of $1,800 per household per year -- isn't evenly distributed across the population: these averages mean that some households are spending many thousands of dollars a year on scratch tickets, Keno, and out-of-state slots.

You can be sure that nobody with a yen for gambling is putting money in their piggy bank waiting for the Legislature to legalize the slots in Mass. If there's an additional $1-2 billion market for in-state gambling, it's going to come out of Lottery sales, and at the expense of the consumer spending that sustains thousands of existing local businesses and their employees.

And, just in case anyone thinks that the State can harness all that demand and keep all those gambling revenues within our borders, think again. If Massachusetts builds casinos that threaten to lure Granite State gamblers, the New Hampshire Legislature is ready to license competing casinos at Rockingham Park and Seabrook. And as soon as Class 3 gambling becomes legal in Massachusetts, Indian tribes that aren't included in the initial deal-making are free to develop their own tax free establishments. So much for all that market share. Passage of the proposed legislation simply fires the starting gun in a race to the bottom.

We know from national experience that when casinos from one state are competing with casinos in neighboring states, legislators hear calls to reduce the tax rate, to increase the number of slot machines, to loosen restrictions on the service of liquor, to increase hours of operation ... all in the interest of increasing revenues that allow bigger payoffs and better odds. Once we go down the path of legalization in Massachusetts, it's only a matter of time before elected officials hear complaints that our casinos can't compete with casinos in New Hampshire or Connecticut or Rhode Island casinos unless we relax our guidelines and lower the State's "take". So much for the promised revenues.

We've been through this before with other businesses that broke their promises to increase jobs or to stay in Mass. in exchange for tax breaks. Haven't we learned anything about the ephemeral nature of "commitment" and "loyalty" from the arm twisting that happens when sports teams pit cities against one another? The reality is that no matter what kind of promises the gambling industry makes to get us to open the door in Massachusetts, the rules will change once the industry has a foothold here, and there's no going back.

The gambling industry isn't biotech or clean energy, which can capitalize on the State's research and technological advantages to create products that bring in investment and customers from other states or nations. Legalizing and promoting Class 3 gambling merely creates an industry that will suck revenues out of existing local economies and re-direct it to sustain a handful of predatory enterprises.


In my next post, Reason #2, I'll share my thoughts about why expanding legalized gambling isn't either the quickest or most efficient way to create good jobs.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Massachusetts is better off without casinos

Massachusetts is better off without casinos

By Scott Harshbarger and Kathleen Conley Norbut

Massachusetts is steeped in history and tradition, founded on the premise of promoting the common good for the community. Together, we have retained the historic fabric of our great state and moved forward with long-term, sustainable economic growth — from life sciences and health care to higher education and information technology.

The passage of legislation to legalize slots and casinos in Massachusetts will usher in a culture that will inexorably alter the landscape of our great Commonwealth. While it may bring desperately needed jobs and revenue, it will also bring increased corruption and crime, unexpected and unnecessary costs to taxpayers, damage small businesses at a perilous time. It is shameful the Legislature is considering all this without analyzing the costs and benefits.

Not only will legalizing slots and casinos in Massachusetts hurt our children and families, but they have been proven to increase corruption, crime and addiction. Massachusetts taxpayers and voters have had enough of corruption to allow it to be ignored in such important legislation.

When casinos come to town, crime goes up. Just look at states like Connecticut and New Jersey. Crime, including political corruption and embezzlement along with other crimes, increases 8 to 10 percent after a casino is built, and continues to increase after that. Local communities have to pick up the tab.

Problem gambling leads to distressed families, child neglect, suicide and bankruptcy. Domestic violence rates go up, as do foreclosures. “Convenience gambling,” closer to home as is envisioned in Massachusetts, creates more problem gamblers. Even proponents of expanded gambling freely admit that the number of problem gamblers grows as people have easier access to government-promoted slots.

Casino proponents promise increased revenues, jobs and benefits. But they are unwilling to even study the scores of hidden costs which will very quickly eat away at any benefits the state sees — costs that will be passed on to taxpayers.

Take another look at Connecticut, which has higher taxes and more significant fiscal problems than Massachusetts — despite the promise of vast riches. Casinos haven’t helped Connecticut and, rather, have hindered the economic development of host communities and neighboring areas. Connecticut’s sales tax hasn’t gone away, property taxes haven’t gone down and the state hasn’t been to balance its budget. Connecticut’s elected leaders proposed solution to their economic problems is more gambling.

The influx of casinos and slot machines to Massachusetts requires a dramatic and comprehensive regulatory enforcement regime, a new and costly government bureaucracy to audit, regulate, inspect and oversee casinos — to the tune of $20 million to 50 million, or greater.

Due to the predatory, addictive nature of casinos, Massachusetts can expect a 50 percent increase in the number of problem gamblers in Massachusetts if we expanded gambling.

According to the California Attorney General’s office, problem and pathological gamblers cost California $1 billion per year, while officials in Indiana, after an exhaustive review, estimated the cost of serving each problem gambler at $2,500 per year. This would add up to well over $750 million in costs for Massachusetts.

Expanded gambling poses a grave threat to small businesses and Massachusetts’ thriving tourism industry.

Casinos will hurt our local restaurants, hotels and entertainment businesses. Money that would otherwise be spent at locally-owned, small businesses will instead be spent at chain restaurants in casinos and lost on casino floors, where we know the owners will make huge profits.

Our elected officials clearly haven’t done their homework or analyzed how casinos and slots will negatively impact our Commonwealth. At a time when voter confidence in government is at an all-time low, it is wrong for legislators to rush through a complex, legislative process without thorough analysis.

The taxpaying citizens of Massachusetts deserve a full cost-benefit analysis of this legislation before it is approved or signed into law. If a data-driven study were done, the evidence is clear: Massachusetts should say no to casinos and slots and all the costs that come with them.

Scott Harshbarger is senior counsel at Proskauer and former Massachusetts Attorney General; Norbut is a former Selectman in Monson and president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.

Aqueduct Inquiry

Inquiry Aimed at Transfer of Aqueduct Bid Papers

The state inspector general is investigating whether a senator or Senate staff member gave internal documents regarding the competition for a slot-machine franchise at Aqueduct Racetrack to a lobbyist for one of the bidders, an official with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday.

The documents, prepared last year by a Senate lawyer, included details of the offers submitted by six consortiums seeking the lucrative contract to operate 4,500 electronic slot machines at the track in Queens, a franchise worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The documents were eventually obtained by Carl Andrews, a lobbyist for the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, according to the official, who declined to be identified because the investigation was continuing.

The group, also known as A.E.G., was awarded the contract by Gov. David A. Paterson in January, but the offer was rescinded amid allegations of political favoritism and questions about A.E.G.’s ability to obtain a license to operate the gambling operation. The bidding has been opened up again.

The earlier bidding process and selection of A.E.G. has been under review by the inspector general’s office since February. It has sought an array of documents from state agencies, lobbyists and bidders. It has subpoenaed Mr. Andrews and the Senate.

The Senate president pro tem, Malcolm A. Smith, has close ties to the Rev. Floyd H. Flake, a Queens minister and a former member of the House of Representatives, who worked to develop community support for A.E.G. in return for a small stake in the project.

In a court appearance on Wednesday, Philip Foglia, a deputy inspector general who is leading the investigation, said Mr. Andrews, a former state senator, had initially agreed to cooperate with the subpoena. But he ended his discussion with investigators, Mr. Foglia told a judge, when they inquired about the Senate documents, which could potentially have aided A.E.G. in reconfiguring its bid to outmaneuver the other bidders. The subpoena was reported Thursday by The New York Post.

Mr. Andrews is seeking to quash the subpoena, saying in court papers that he should not be involved in the investigation because he did not lobby the governor’s office or any state agency. Mr. Andrews’s lawyer did not return a phone call seeking comment.

It is unclear whether providing internal Senate memos to Mr. Andrews would have violated any state laws, given the unusual nature of the award process for the Aqueduct franchise. Instead of adhering to strict procurement procedures, state legislation left the selection of a winner to the governor and the leaders of the Assembly and the Senate.

In a statement, Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Senate Democrats, said, referring to the inspector general: “There is an ongoing I.G. investigation into executive agencies, which he has authority over, and the Senate is cooperating fully. We’ve compiled and collected work product and submitted requested documents to the I.G., as well as scheduled witnesses to testify in their inquiry. And we will continue to meet their requests.”

Mr. Andrews was a Democratic state senator from Brooklyn before joining the Spitzer administration in 2007 and staying on when Mr. Paterson became governor. Mr. Andrews soon resigned, however, after accusations that he had tried to intimidate an official at the State Liquor Authority into renewing liquor licenses for restaurants owned by the Cipriani family.

The authority voted two to one in 2008 to accept the Ciprianis’ $500,000 settlement offer, rather than revoke their liquor licenses for more than four dozen violations of state law at nine venues, including the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center, Harry Cipriani at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel and Cipriani Wall Street. A year earlier, Giuseppe Cipriani and his father, Arrigo, pleaded guilty to charges related to tax evasion and were fined $10 million.