Saturday, July 31, 2010
Sat Jul 31, 2010 at 21:57:53 PM EDT
A good statement from the Gov (email):
The decision we make to expand gaming in Massachusetts will impact our state for decades. We have to get it right. Destination resort casinos will bring thousands of new jobs and increased economic development. Slots parlors will not....
I believe that the bill before the Legislature provides for more licenses than the market can bear, and will therefore not produce the job creation and economic benefits that destination resort casinos would provide. In addition, the inclusion of two slots facilities for the tracks brings social costs without the benefits, and amounts to a "no-bid" contract for the track owners. I have been clear from the beginning that is not something I can accept....
If the Legislature insists on sending me their gaming bill in its current form without addressing these concerns, I will send it back for amendment. The amendment will largely be the full text of the destination resort casino bill passed by the Senate last month, which is similar to and based on the legislation I filed in 2008.
This amendment keeps faith with my convictions about the best long-term interests of the Commonwealth and with our shared interest in job creation. I hope the Legislature will see their way to enact the amendment. However, if the House and Senate choose to send back a bill with two slots facilities and without a truly open and competitive licensing process, I will veto that measure.
In case you are not familiar with MA's unusual "return for amendment" procedure: the Governor has (basically) three choices when a bill comes before him: sign it, veto it, or return it for amendment. The third, which is what Patrick is talking about here, means that he doesn't sign the bill but instead returns it to the legislature with a different proposal, saying, in effect, "I think this would be better." Unlike a veto, there is no override procedure whereby the legislature can make a law despite the Governor's objection. Rather, when a bill is returned for amendment, the legislature must enact another bill in the usual way; of course it is up to them whether to enact the same bill they enacted before, the one suggested by the Governor, or some other bill. That newly-enacted bill then goes to the Governor, who then has only two choices: sign or veto. (In other words, he can only "return for amendment" once.)
Under the present circumstances, though, unless the legislature decides to come back into formal session (which Terry Murray has already ruled out), returning for amendment has basically the same effect as a veto: it kills the bill. There is no way a casino bill can get through in informal session, since there are a lot of "no" votes on this bill and a single legislator can prevent it from passing.
Three cheers for Governor Patrick for standing firm against the lousy bill the legislature sent him. His entire statement is on the flip.
On this truly sad day when vested interests and lobbyists were allowed to prevail and the public and wisdom was silenced, there are many who shone their integrity and courage and stood to speak the truth.
Here are but a few of the heroes and heroines --
... Rep. Ruth Balser, who described deep opposition to the proposal.
"What we're deciding today is about the introduction of slot machines into Massachusetts," she said, before reading from expert testimony that described modern slot machines as devices intended to encourage gamblers to "play to extinction." "If we actually look at what these [slot machine] algorithms are doing, it's a kind of high-tech version of weighting the deck or loading the dice, which no self-respecting casinos would ever think of doing."
Rep. Matthew Patrick, a vehement gambling critic who said he would attempt to delay the House's attempt to pass a gambling proposal, took the House podium shortly before 1 p.m. invoking the prayer offered by the House's chaplain at the start of Saturday's session.
"Would Christ even conceive of a bill that would bring such extreme pain and suffering to so many people?" he said. "In gambling, someone has to lose. That's an unfortunate fact."
Rep. Carl Sciortino (D-Medford), a gambling critic, said he read the compromise gambling bill until 1 a.m. and said it was "a challenge" to understand. He questioned whether his colleagues fully understood the bill they are preparing to vote on. Taking the microphone shortly after 1:30 p.m., Rep. Denise Provost said she sees no silver lining to the proposal, just "pure cloud."
Sen. Susan Tucker, D-Andover, a staunch gambling opponent, said the casinos and racinos will be a "total economic loser for Massachusetts."
Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, another expanded gambling opponent, predicted the industry will only grow larger and the state will cater to any new demands of the gambling industry.
"You can't regulate these interests," she said. "They will talk their way out of everything."
Governor, Will you do the right thing?
Rather than institutionalize them or medicate them, put them in public office!
Will someone please tell DeLeo, regardless of how much money you spend on Industry Studies, you simply will NOT have 15,000 jobs!
From SHNS (no link):
"I find it hard to believe that Governor Patrick will veto 15,000 jobs and the prospect of immediate local aid funds for cities and towns," DeLeo said.
Here's my Ways & Means Testimony:
Beacon Hill Testimony: Where is your proof?
"There's nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it." William James (1842-1910) The father of modern Psychology
Friday, July 30, 2010
The Senator, who fell in love with SLOTS, evidence be damned, indicated that there was no proof that slot parlors increased crime more than, say, a mall.
New Gambling: A Bad Bet
Compare Tourist-Destination Crime Rates
Grinols presented a long list of crimes, pathologies and social problems in which Nevada is first or among the leaders in the nation, including first in suicide (double the national average), divorce, gambling addictions, child-abuse deaths and per capita bankruptcy, to cite a few. He said crime associated with gambling is not explained merely by the fact that it draws large numbers of people.
His research compared crime at Las Vegas to that at high-tourist destinations not associated with gambling – Branson, Mo.; and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.
Las Vegas’ crime rate is 1,040 percent higher than Branson’s and 15.7 times higher than Bloomington’s, Grinols reported, although both destinations draw far more visitors per resident than does Las Vegas.
A similar pattern is found when comparing crime rates at large tourist destinations in the National Park System to Las Vegas.
“So it’s not just a matter of number of visitors. It’s also a matter of who is visiting,” he said.
One need not look very far to see the harm wrought by casinos:
• “Embezzling Grows from Addiction to Casinos” (Buffalo News, Feb. 17)
• “Killer Who Was Compulsive Gambler to Be Released from Prison” (Las Vegas Sun, Feb. 17)
• “Problem Gambling Group Hears Former Lawyer’s Addiction Story” (Louisville Courier-Journal, Feb. 12)
Tragically, these are not isolated cases, but are integrally related to the existence of the predatory gambling, especially casinos, upon which state governments are becoming increasingly reliant – and for which states and cities have failed to realize their expected revenue gains.
Bank on Gambling? Dire Consequences
An enlightening article in Esquire last September paints well the dire picture faced by states and municipalities banking on gambling money.
“In most jurisdictions, gambling revenues max out quickly,” wrote Nate Silver. “In Atlantic City, for example, which opened for business in 1978, gaming revenues were no higher in 2008 than they were in 1986, and 2009 is on pace to be the slowest year since 1983. Gambling revenues peaked in 2002 in Illinois, in 2000 in Mississippi, and in 2006 in Detroit, which had only begun to permit gambling ten years earlier.”
Silver added, “What we’ve witnessed, indeed, is something of a race to the bottom,” noting the escalation in gambling as states jumped in to compete with neighbors.
The proliferation of gambling across the nation even further diminishes its already poor ability to generate reliable government revenues.
Once begun, gambling proliferation would inevitably march across the Florida peninsula, as each region demands the ability to compete with the last that obtains new gambling.
The Florida Lottery is a case in point.
Last month, the Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability released two studies that advocated more lottery retail availability, more instant-ticket vending machines and participation in Mega Millions, another multistate lottery only a year after the lottery began participation in Powerball. All of these efforts are to shore up flagging revenues, which are supposedly to the benefit of state education funding.
Truly, it’s a never-ending cycle – and one that is for the worse.
It should not be surprising that I oppose gambling expansion for more than economic reasons. I strongly believe it is immoral for the state to bank on making its citizens losers in a callous and inevitably unsuccessful effort to balance the state’s budget.
Still, on a simple cost-benefit ratio, new gambling does not compute. Florida legislators who insist otherwise do so in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary – and, inevitably, to the serious harm of the citizens they serve.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Key pols fly coop during casino talks
Key Bay State lawmakers flew out of town this week to hobnob with lobbyists at a bourbon-swilling hoedown in the home of the Kentucky Derby - blowing a crucial deadline last night meant to break the stalemate on legalized casinos.
“I think it’s outrageous that at this critical point in the legislative session that they’re down there to be wined and dined,” said Thomas Whalen, a political professor at Boston University. “It just looks bad all around.”
At least three state lawmakers -including Senate President Therese Murray - hit Louisville for the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit this week despite another looming deadline - the July 31 end of the legislative session.
The four-day taxpayer-funded junket featured a private serenade by Wynonna Judd and Loretta Lynn and a night of bourbon sipping and live horse racing at Churchill Downs’ “Millionaires Row,” according to the group’s Web site.
Sen. Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst) [the little man lives to have his ego stroked!] - one of the lead negotiators charged with breaking the deadlock on casinos - bolted Tuesday night and spent most of yesterday in Louisville to receive a “leadership in the arts” award.
“This is a lifetime achievement award,” Rosenberg boasted, [it simply doesn't get any better than that does it, Stanley?] adding that he was on the phone with conferees before and after his award ceremony. He returned to Beacon Hill last night. “I’m sorry. I’m entitled to take four hours. I worked on (casinos) for three years.”
[Oh? Wasn't it all on the taxpayers' dime and we have no information?]
With many critical bills bottlenecked in the Legislature, lawmakers last night again failed to hammer out a compromise on casino legislation even though they set themselves an 8 p.m. deadline. They also cut out at 5 p.m. sharp Tuesday.
Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) went to the Kentucky blowout Saturday and stayed all week as he prepared to be crowned the new president of the NCSL. He plans to return to Boston today.
[Senator Richard T. "Debt Collector" Moore - ever sensitive to protecting the interests of wealthy casino investors!]
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The time to "do it right" has passed. We have been promised from the beginning that we, in Massachusetts, would "do it right". We were told that every other state that has gone before us had gotten it wrong, that the industry had been in control of the legislation or that tribal gaming rights had trumped the states' rights because they had been "out in front" of the state legislatures.
Well here we are. There are only three days and a wake-up left in the legislative calendar and there's no agreement but one could come at any moment. Secret negotiations, honest-to-goodness secret negotiations are underway at this hour in Boston's Statehouse. The Cradle of Liberty is about to become a slot parlor and the casinos' interests are better represented than are ours. Does anyone honestly believe that the casino lobbyists aren't being consulted during these negotiations? Of course they are and we expect and accept it as business as usual.
The truth is the Massachusetts' legislature and Governor are following the casino industry's playbook. The industry is in the driver's seat. They are on Beacon Hill right now. Their message is being heard while we are shut out of the process.
The most ardent casino supporters among us say, "If they're going to put a casino in my neighborhood, they must do it right!" Will you hold our legislators accountable for what is about to transpire?
Over the next 3 days, the secret negotiations will end, a compromise will be reached and the leadership will tell our representatives which way to vote. Our representatives are not concerned with what's best for us but what's best for the casino industry. Whether you support or oppose expanded gambling in Massachusetts, you understand the need to safeguard our way of life in neighborhoods across the Commonwealth. You know that there is no way to ensure that this bill will protect us. You know that this will be yet another bad policy decision from Beacon Hill.
If you've already called or emailed our legislators and the Governor, call them again. Then call your friends and ask them to call their legislators at 617-722-2000. If you're not sure about calling your friends, ask yourself whether you would be willing to make a phone call if those friends asked you to do the same.
If you've been told that it will be done right, ask how they can make that guarantee, if they won't even have time to read the bill.
More is accomplished by quiet conversations than by boisterous rants. Change comes not from podiums and hallowed halls but from kitchen tables and coffee shops.
When the casino doors open at Suffolk Downs, will you be able to claim, "I fought until the bitter end", or will you lament that, "There's nothing we can do to change it, so why bother?"
I have chosen to stand up and fight. What will your choice be?
He managed to find the exotic location of Beacon Hill once or twice a year, usually when cranberry legislation was voted on. Voters never noticed and had no option on the ballot.
The Absent Representative enjoyed widespread support because he had no opposition, surely retiring on a cushy taxpayer funded pension for a no-show job.
Then, things changed.
Now, Middleboro enjoys being represented by 3 Representatives, one who sees fit to send his "aide" to all functions.
This lackluster Representative is the flip-flopping Representative William Straus.
Democracy is NOT a spectator sport. Maybe it's time to replace the invisible Straus with someone who will conduct his due diligence and actually represent the best interests of his constituents.
Honorable Rep. Straus:
In the years you have served as representative to 2 of Middleboro's
Precincts, I have seen you ONCE and sometimes wonder if I should
send a map.
Although you might not represent my district, we all understand
about the gerrymandering, so, from that perspective, you have
accepted the responsibility of representing my TOWN.
When the casino monster reared its ugly head in Middleboro,
you were no where to be seen. You were silent.
When I emailed information to you about the negative aspects
of 'casino' gambling, I found myself subscribed to your pretty
mind numbing newsletter.
And now this?
The current legislation, as proposed, whether House or Senate
version is FLAWED - grossly flawed.
Speaking solely as a novice, I can see the flaws that are ripe for
corruption and political influence. In the shadow of the Probation
Department scandal, the BLOATED REGULATORY BUREAUCRACY
reeks of patronage - political hacks and relatives.
That's just for starters.
To legalize slots, represents a major change in fiscal policy with which
I and many others heartily disagree.
This isn't about exotic and elegant 'resorts.' For $600 million, you get
a SLOT BARN, just as Sheldon Adelson constructed at Sands
Senator Rosenberg has acknowledged publicly that there is no legal
manner to limit those SLOT PARLORS.
What is passed during this session, will exist for this session only.
The job numbers are overstated.
The revenue numbers are overstated.
Each is easily discredited and refuted.
I respectfully request that you consider the experience of other communities,
maybe even the disaster that is Atlantic City --
...the McKinsey report refers to it as fact, citing statistics that show the city’s violent crime rate in 2009 far exceeded the national average and trumps other cities such as Trenton and Biloxi, Miss, according to federal statisitics.
While you were snoozing for the last + 3 years, some of us
have been collecting statistics about slot parlors.
The poverty rate is higher in Atlantic City than pre-casino.
The unemployment has never been reduced below the national average.
Or - take a look at Las Vegas, with the nation's highest dropout rate,
the poorest educational attainment levels - lowest college graduation
rate, five times the national average for home foreclosures, among
the highest suicide rate - perhaps attributed to gambling addiction.
Is that what you're supporting?
Sometimes, instead of listening to gambling lobbyists, you also have to
look at yourself in the mirror.
Please give some thought to your support.
It reminded me of something posted recently on Blue Mass Group:
The Speaker can tell them where to SIT, he cannot TELL them how to vote
Today that Speaker is a forgotten ugly blotch on our State history - while Markey went on to become a powerful Congressman. (No, I don't give old blotches publicity by putting their names on the net).
Markey famously used "He can tell me where to sit, he cannot tell me how to vote" and a video of that lonely desk in the hallway in his campaign.
Just saying...where are the "brass balls" in this legislature? Like citizens, really, all legislators have is their VOTE.
You don't have to be too old to know the sad legacy of Beacon Hill leaders charged with some nasty things like crime, corruption and abuse of power, but watching history repeat itself is daunting.
It didn't escape public notice that when the current Speaker ascended the throne, he appointed some mindless incompetents to Chairmenships - those easily controlled, willing to genuflect (and most appreciative of the extra pay), who really lacked the intellectual capacity to fulfill their responsibilities. Peter Principal, anyone?
The Senate President distanced herself from the Predatory Gambling Follies by appointing a formerly opposed Senator, not very bright, whose 'justification' is anecdotal tales lacking substance. Besides, he really liked to travel, have his ego stroked. Little man whose public image resembles a court jester!
They never protested the flawed process, lack of public input, that the Industry crafted the legislation.
They're not talking about how truly BAD this legislation is.
They're not discussing the flaws.
They're not considering the impacts on communities or the increased crime.
They're not insisting that an Independent Cost Benefit Analysis should have been conducted.
They're trying to figure out how to get some of the gravy for themselves.
Feckless doesn't seem adequate.
By John Swinconeck
York County Coast Star
LEDYARD, Conn. - "I've become very cynical about this operation over the past 11 years," said Mayor Wesley Johnson of Ledyard, Conn.
Ledyard borders the Pequot reservation that's home to the world's biggest casino, Foxwoods Resort.
"There has been no economic development spin-off from the casino. Businesses do not come here," Johnson said. "Tourists come mainly to gamble. Gamblers have one thing in mind: get to the casino, win or lose their money, get in their cars, and go home."
The more people gamble, the more credit can go on the Wampum player's card, which can quickly accumulate for a free meal.
Mohegan Sun has their own gas station which pumps 170,000 gallons a month, tax free. That's 170,000 gallons that's not going to a local station, Johnson said.
"You can pretty much get whatever you want at a casino," he said.
Connecticut State Trooper Todd Lynch is the resident state trooper of Ledyard. The town pays about 70 percent of his salary to act as the head law enforcement official. He's had the job for one year and four months, and he was raised in the area. Today he heads up a 42 member sworn-in civilian operation.
Since Foxwoods opened in the early 1990s, much about law enforcement has changed.
"The single biggest problem was traffic," Lynch said. "Accidents, the amount of offenders, speeding, OUI. When you have 40,000 come through your town daily, traffic becomes your biggest problem."
While the casino does give slot revenue to the state, Lynch's department does not receive any money directly from the casino.
"The frustrating part is using the budget in place - taxpayer money - to take care of the problems caused by a money making machine," he said.
Lynch said Ledyard is a town of 15,000 with no limited access highway to Foxwoods, unlike Mohegan Sun.
"Everyone of those 40,000, at some time, have to come onto Ledyard roads," Lynch said.
According to Lynch, people quickly find their way onto back roads and shortcuts, so it is no longer just the major roads that are impacted by casino traffic.
When the casino opened, Lynch said residents began complaining about littering and public urination on the roads, plus serious motor vehicle complaints.
State police has jurisdiction on land owned by the casino and everywhere else. Ledyard police cannot enforce the law on tribal land or at the casino. Tribal police can only enforce federal laws on their land, but both the perpetrator and victim must be Indians.
"It can get confusing, not only in finding out where you've got proper jurisdiction but with whose involved," Lynch said.
Lynch's advise for law enforcement in Maine is to make sure law enforcement arraignments are "straight and narrow." Expect also a tremendous influx in the amount of traffic.
"The number of accidents and drunk driving arrests have no where to go but up," he said.
In Ledyard, at one point, the tribes agreed to pay for a "loop patrol" around Foxwoods, Lynch said. Because of that patrol, the following was discovered:
In 1994, 3,500 tickets were written, 55 drunk driving arrests made. In 1995 4,200 tickets were written, with 50 drunk driving arrests. In 1997, 2,000 tickets written, 57 drunk driving arrests. The tribe then cut funding for the program.
In 1999, 332 tickets were issues with 20 drunk driving arrests. In 2001, 477 tickets with 40 drunk driving arrests.
Lynch said the same amount of offenders are out there now that were there in the mid 1990s. There's not as much money for enforcement, so the number of tickets and arrests decreased.
[It's important to note that this is a wealthy Tribe with a profitable casino too cheap to pay to keep their neighbors safe!]
Regardless of the $480 million Connecticut will get this year in slot revenues, Johnson said it's a "drop in the bucket" compared to a $13 billion budget with a $2 billion deficit. Houses on Route 2 (which leads to Foxwoods) have lost 10 to 20 percent of their value, according to Johnson. The only new business on that road is a Dunkin' Donuts, he said.
"They tell you there will be economic development spinoff, and they will work to have that happen, but they don't want it to happen. They want it all controlled in the casino so people will stay there and gamble," Johnson said.
"The only saving grace is the more casinos there are, the more people will drive to the closest one," Lynch said. That means less driving through Ledyard to Foxwoods.
Carver Chick and Gladys Kravitz
Note to Beacon Hill: Pass this grossly flawed legislation at your peril.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Has anyone ever seen him?
Does he know where Middleboro is?
He's a spokesperson?
It doesn't get any more mindless than this!
Email or call your reps. PLEASE after watching this!
Find their contact info here: http://uss-mass.org/
Is this flawed legislation what we want?
Tell your friends, too.
Thanks for all you do!
From a friend --
Representatives of CasinoFacts.org, including myself, met with Strauss back in 2008 to share our thoughts and information with him, and to learn more about his position. He seemed anti, but reluctant to say for pick a side. Then, in late 2008, Strauss appeared as an anti-casino voice at a debate in New Bedford. I shook his hand after it was over and thanked him for his words. To any in attendance, he was very anti expanded gambling.
Then, in the House debate, when we were sure he'd vote against, he voted for casinos. Now he's on Braude sounding like he works for Harrahs. Go figure.
Our legislators must be privy to information that the good Senator just hasn't been made aware of yet. Well, I've copied the uninformed Senator and I am going to try my best to convince her and those of you who still simply don't trust the casino industry that her concerns and yours are totally unfounded and baseless.
Dear Senator Jehlen,
I recently read your newsletter with disbelief (read full text here). How is it that someone with your background and education can be swayed by independent economic research on the costs and benefits of expanded gambling into believing that the costs might outweigh the benefits? Haven't you heard that there is absolutely no way to divine the costs until we pass the legislation and figure out where to build the casinos? The benefits on the other hand are much easier to calculate: $400 million in revenue minus $148 million the lottery will lose and minus whatever it's going to cost for that huge new bureaucracy. Besides Chip Tuttle, COO of Suffolk Downs has beautiful pictures of the new casino that you really must see before you jump to any conclusions.
Senator, can we really trust the Boston Business Journal to speak on behalf of the rest of the businesses in the area? I mean they don't really know what they're talking about do they? Besides, didn't you know that Suffolk Downs has been open for 75 years and there's already gambling there? You really need to drop by and see the plans.
Pat, can I call you Pat? Pat, just because the CEO of the American Gaming Association doesn't want a casino in his neighborhood is no reason for you to whine about it. Surely you can come up with something more convincing than that. Has Chip called yet? I'm sure he'll want to show you the renderings.
Senator, people do go to Connecticut already. You can't argue that, can you? Don't you see all those busloads of people heading down the Mass Pike and the cars in the parking lots with the Massachusetts plates? Doesn't it make sense to put a casino on the Blue Line? That way everyone who can't afford those expensive bus trips or their own car, you know the people who might need government assistance already, can get to the casino? You should talk to Mr. Fields of Coastal Development; he's a really nice guy and he would never want anyone to suffer on account of his business.
Senator, you folks at the State House have made it so hard for the rest of us to smoke in peace. As you know times are tough and drinking helps us forget our problems so why shouldn't the casinos give us a break on our liquor bills? If we can smoke and drink more cheaply at the casino, we won't need to go to any of those other places where we need to go outside to smoke. Did you know if one of those restaurants like Jeveli's, Floramo's or Maggio's gave me a free drink, they could be lose their license? Not so at the casinos! I hear that the landscaping is going to be fabulous and they're going to give new plants to the people on Waldemar Ave. to mitigate the negative impact. Maybe you should ask Chip for some plants? Would that make you feel better about the drinking and smoking?
You know, Senator, I spoke to the Mayor of Ledyard, CT, where Foxwoods is, and he is quite happy with the casino in his town. He had this to say:
"There has been no economic development spin-off from the casino. Businesses do not come here...Tourists come mainly to gamble. Gamblers have one thing in mind: get to the casino, win or lose their money, get in their cars, and go home."
Hmmm, maybe he didn't have enough to drink that day.
Listen , Senator you just don't get it. Who needs an independent cost benefit analysis anyway. I am putting my trust in Chip Tuttle and the casino industry. After all they've had 37 other states to practice in and they are finally going to "do it right" here in Massachusetts.
P.S. Neighbors, please read Senator Jehlen's newsletter and call or email our legislators and tell them you will hold them accountable for their vote. Remind them that they represent us and that they are not serving our best interests. They simply haven't done their homework.
As more people question Predatory Gambling, the community degradation caused by SLOT BARNS, the increased crime, children left in hot vehicles in the summer sun, opposition is growing.
Contact the Governor, your State Representative and Senator, then
Join us by adding your name to the mailings lists on this very important issue:
United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts
Neighbors of Suffolk Downs
Stop Predatory Gambling
Gambling is extremely profitable and the Industry has paid their lobbyists well.
Their suits cost more than my entire wardrobe (tee shirts don't cost much).
We are all grassroots volunteers who pay for gas, parking, computer time and paper out of our own pockets. Consider making a contribution to our efforts. Consider joining us. It's your community after all.
Circulated by a friend, worth reading --
Scare tactics are commonly used to promote support of SLOT BARNS
[For $600 MILLION, you get a SLOT BARN!]
around the Commonwealth.
FYI... (at least our former Attorney General has a pulse...) --
Add your name to the mailing list and join us:
United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts
Supporters of expanded gambling bills are misleading the public by suggesting they need to put in place a regulatory structure to prepare for the advent of casinos run by Native American tribes, according to opponents of casinos.
Citing repeated claims by lead Senate gambling bill conferee Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, casino opponents on Tuesday said there as no possibility of tribal casinos in Massachusetts unless the Legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick agree to legalize slot parlors and casinos.
"Legislators keep saying they are working to control a flood of tribal casinos but what they don't acknowledge or, worse, don't realize is that they are the ones poised to open up the floodgates," Scott Harshbarger, the former state attorney general, said in a statement. Harshbarger has been leading opposition to expanded gambling as part of the group United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.
The group says that under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the state is not required to allow tribal casinos if expanded gambling has not been legalized in Massachusetts. The argument was used two years ago as part of a multi-pronged offense by casino opponents that helped killed Patrick's three-casino proposal in 2008.
Democratic legislative leaders are meeting privately [BEHIND CLOSED DOORS!] this week to try to agree on a consensus bill allowing expanded gambling in Massachusetts.
Beacon Hill continues to cater to vested interests.
Advocates for other issues have grown frustrated, and many observers, both on and off Beacon Hill, have criticized what seems like a singular focus for the state's lawmakers.
"If you're on Beacon Hill and you have issues pending ... certainly you're paying attention to what's happening with the gambling bill because that's having an impact on a whole lot of other activity," said Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, which is pushing both a change in the health care law and a sales tax holiday for mid-August.
John Rosenthal, president and founder of Stop Handgun Violence, which is championing a measure to restrict gun purchases, called the focus on the casino bill "a shame."
"It seems like this gun violence prevention legislation is taking a back seat to, frankly, a casino bill which could lead to more crime and gun violence," he said. "It's ironic."
And advocates for changing the criminal records law, who have won support from the House and Senate, are suddenly concerned that victory may be slipping from their hands. Tomorrow, they plan a rally on the State House steps in an effort to call attention to their cause.
"We want to make sure that the Legislature is reminded that this is an issue that is impacting people on a daily basis," said Aaron Tanaka, executive director of the Boston Workers Alliance, who is part of a larger coalition that favors a change in the criminal records law. "It would just be a shame for the Legislature to let politics get in the way."
Murray, meanwhile, told the Cape Cod Times over the weekend that she believed slot machines "suck all the economic environment from within 20 miles, and you really don't get any jobs from it."
DeLeo denied that the casino debate is holding up other issues, saying, "Each individual piece of legislation is separate form the other."
Still, when Murray was asked today about a sales tax holiday proposal, she conceded that "I haven't thought about it today."
Republicans, who were not invited to the casino talks today, say it is important for the public to see the Beacon Hill impasse, which they blamed on Democrats.
"I think it's good that people are actually getting to see the dysfunctionality of this building," said Senator Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I bought my chips and played to see how long my $100 would last. Players often have interesting and sometimes entertaining conversations.
One of the players was physically there, but a reluctant participant.
I finally forced a bit of conversation and discovered that he had just gambled away his paycheck and was too frightened to go home.
In the direction our commonwealth is going, I can see this kind of personal catastrophe repeating endlessly in one form or other. The victims will be like the people seen in their cars outside a variety store, or drugstore, or gas station scratching cards; hoping that, maybe, maybe this time.
Those racks or spools of colorful little cards are clearly habituating.
How enticing will those promised temples of glamour be when only a 40-minute drive away?
Most of our legislators are politicians, not analytical thinkers. Their quality of thought has convinced them that games, not of chance, but with almost no chance at all, will cure the woes of today’s economy.
Much of that money will come from a family’s food and fuel budget.
Gambling is not a question of economics it’s a question of community-modulated morality.
T.F. Kelley lives in Norwood.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Fall River's process is a mockery of Democracy as a result of backroom deals.
One other thing to consider. If the Casino is developed only between the City and the Tribe, without the benefit of state legislation legalizing gaming in Massachusetts, the only money Fall River will ever receive are those payments agreed upon between the tribe and the City. The state will get NO REVENUES from the TRIBE...NONE, ZERO, ZILCH. My understanding is that the payment for the land sale itself will will placed under the control of the Redevlopment Authority, not for use in the City's general or capital budget.
A FREE Report gives Christie hope that Atlantic City can be saved but confirms the truth of CRIME in Atlantic City --
“I think you have to be cautious when you combine casino and family friendly,” he said. Casinos are adult entertainment. Las vegas tried to sell itself like that and it didn't work.”
Of Market Saturation --
A chart within the report illustrates the dramatic uptick in slot machines outside Atlantic City since 2006, including 79,000 between 2006 and 2008 in places like Yonkers, N.Y., and Bethleham, Pa., and about 115,000 scheduled to surface between late 2009 and 2012.
Of CRIME --
...expecting to see a “clean and safe” Atlantic City by July 1, 2011. Many casino executives and city officials have argued that safety concerns are merely based on inaccurate perceptions, which the governor alluded to during his visit to Atlantic City this week.
But the McKinsey report refers to it as fact, citing statistics that show the city’s violent crime rate in 2009 far exceeded the national average and trumps other cities such as Trenton and Biloxi, Miss, according to federal statisitics.
Data from the New Jersey State Police and the Casino Control Commission, however, present a brighter picture, including numbers that show violent crimes rose 27 percent in the United States from 1978 to 2008 but rose only 4 percent here. Thefts dropped 4 percent nationwide in the same period. In Atlantic City, they fell 43 percent.
Those of us who have argued the facts and statistics have been shouted down by the Gambling Industry that would create the false impression about Gambling and Crime.
Perception or not, negative images of Atlantic City go a long way to turning off visitors, and the report presents two notable abandoned sites that would likely fall within the governor’s newly proposed Tourism District to convey that blight is not tucked away in the city’s four corners.
One of the photos shows an abandoned lot two blocks from the Atlantic City Convention Center. Another captures a vacant tract in the middle of the Boardwalk strip formerly occupied by the Sands Casino Hotel, which was imploded to make way for development from Pinnacle Entertainment that never came to fruition.
The report, which was provided to the commission free of charge, also supplies unattributed quotes from consumers about the resort and its cleanliness.
“I do not like seeing the abandoned buildings, pawn shops and empty lots right next to casinos,” one visitor told the consultants. “At night, it’s like a ghost town.”
Saturday, July 24, 2010
A Putz for All Seasons
Aaaahhhh ... the glint in the eye ... the grin of a court jester .... the promise of more $$$$ ..... bigger staff ..... bigger office .... more respect ... doesn't get much better than that ... except for the reflection in the mirror.
Yup! It's a ZITZ!
15 reasons why I oppose the expansion of gambling in Massachusetts…
I think that the current proposals on Beacon Hill to expand gambling, casinos and slots in Massachusetts are immoral. If the chief responsibility of government, as God’s agent in society, is to protect and serve “We the people” then these proposed Bills in the Legislature show that our government is failing on both counts.
In these tough financial times — with state revenue falling and aid to cities and towns falling even faster — it is a shame that our governor, legislators and mayors choose to balance the budget on the wallets of the poor among us who are disproportionately represented at the scratch ticket counters and slot machines.
Here are 15 reasons (not original to me) why I oppose the expansion of gambling in the Commonwealth…
1. Gambling preys on those least able to afford it
Predatory gambling is the practice of using gambling to prey on human weakness for profit and it has become government’s version of subprime lending. Slot machines represent predatory gambling in its purest form.
2. 90% of the profits come from 10% of the gamblers
There are at least four major differences between social forms of gambling like church bingo, Friday night poker games or picking the Patriots in the office football pool versus predatory gambling products like slot machines: 1) The speed of the games; 2) the kind of “buzz” or high people get when they play; 3) the amount of money people lose; and 4) the predatory marketing used to promote it.
Most important of all, 90% of casino profits come from 10% of the gamblers. Out-of-control gamblers are the profit center for the casino trade.
3. Slot machines are predatory and deceptive
There’s little understanding of the machines and marketing that drive the predatory gambling trade. According to MIT Professor Natasha Schull , the goal of slots technology is no secret: how to get people to play longer, faster and more intensively. Every feature of the machine- the mathematical structure, visual graphics, sound dynamics, seating and screen ergonomics- is geared, in the actual language of the casino world, to get gamblers to “play to extinction” – which means until their money is gone. A modern slot machine doesn’t have a handle to pull or use reels – they use buttons and video screens. Instead of coins, they take player consumer cards. Dozens of games can be played per minute. Instead of actual reels, they have virtual reels that rely on complicated algorithms and virtual reel mapping, concepts that few people in the casino trade itself understand – much less policy makers and citizens considering these machines in their own communities.
According to Dr. Schull, when you look at what these algorithms are doing, it’s a high tech version of “weighting the deck” or “loading the dice.” (For you non-gamblers out there, that means the machines are cheating.). What you are seeing on the screen is not an accurate representation of what’s happening inside the machine.
4. Slot machines are addictive
Predatory gambling supporters nearly always refer to gambling addiction rates in general population numbers but most people don’t gamble regularly. A truer representation of the addictiveness of the product is to look at the people who use electronic gambling machines once a month or more. After all, isn’t that really the key public health question? Is there a difference between traveling out-of-state a handful of times a year versus putting these machines near your community where people can play them every week or monthly?
The answer is yes, there is a major difference between traveling out-of-state a handful of times a year versus putting these machines near your community where people can play them every week or monthly. A prominent Canadian study spotlighted that more than 63% of the people who use electronic gambling machines once or more per month show problem gambling behavior. And it’s these out-of-control gamblers who are the primary source of the casino trade’s profits.
Why are the machines so addictive when people are provided frequent access to them? Because they cause changes in brain chemistry that are as addictive as drugs, according to National Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Keith Whyte. Neurological studies show that gambling rewards the body with the release of dopamine, a brain chemical that causes a sensation similar to taking cocaine. 
5. The state actively “recruits” gamblers by advertising with their own money!
The predatory gambling trade has taken consumer loyalty cards and player tracking system technology to a whole new level. Anyone comforted by the idea that playing the slots is voluntary should spend a day with those who work for the predatory gambling trade. People are targeted based on factors such as how fast they play a slot machine, information that can be collected through their “Player’s Rewards card” because many players use these cards directly in the machine. The faster someone plays, the more likely they are to play recklessly. And reckless gamblers turn into out-of-control gamblers who make up 90% of the profits. The casino staff also use statistical models to set calendars and budgets that predict when a targeted person will gamble and how much. It calculates how much each gambler is likely to lose to the slot machines over his or her lifetime. It’s called their “predicted lifetime value.”
That’s why the debate is not whether we “permit” people to gamble…it is about incenting people to gamble. The nation’s biggest casino operator, Harrah’s, acknowledges outright that’s what they are doing. “Are we doing the right thing? Is it right to incent people to gamble?” said Richard Mirman, Harrah’s V.P. of Business Development.
6. The incentives to gamble are predatory and unfair
•· Phone and email solicitations
•· Free Alcohol
•· Direct mail offering free slot play
•· “Hosts” who are in constant contact with heavy gamblers away from the casino
•· Free meals
•· ‘Luck Ambassadors’- casino employees who hand out small cash vouchers to gamblers who have been identified by the player tracking system as losing big money in an attempt to uplift their spirits and keep them in front of the gambling machine. This all happens in real time on the casino floor.
•· Small cash vouchers
•· Free or reduced lodging
•· Sponsoring Meals on Wheels trucks in retirement communities
How good is the casino trade’s marketing? Harrah’s can trace more than 75 percent of its gambling revenue back to specific customers. With such state-of-the-art technology, wouldn’t you think they know who the out-of-control gamblers are that make up 90% of their revenue?
Penn National, one of the major casino companies, was recently fined $800,000 in Illinois for marketing to problem gamblers who had voluntarily banned themselves from entering a casino– a self-exclusion list. What was Penn National’s defense? As part of a campaign to develop new customers, the casino rented a list of names from a firm that operates ATM machines at Illinois casinos and the casino’s marketing department failed to check the list against the names of people enrolled in the Self-Exclusion Program.  But why does Penn National and casinos like it aggressively market to gamblers who take money out of casino ATMs? Because these gamblers are the ones most likely to lose control of their spending. They lost the money they arrived with at the casino and then needed to withdraw more of their savings to chase the money they lost earlier.
7. Gambling is different from going to the movies or out to dinner
Advocates of the predatory gambling trade say it’s no different than other forms of entertainment. They describe it the same as “drinking wine, going out to a restaurant or going to the movies.” Yet, the owner of the vineyard drinks the wine he makes. The owner of the restaurant eats the food he serves. The movie producer watches the movies he makes. This is the only product or service we can think of where most of the people who own it and promote it, including public officials, don’t use it and don’t want to live near it.
8. Promoting freedom to “fail” is not in the state’s best interest — nor that of its citizens
Predatory gambling advocates promote the notion that the public should be able to gamble if they want to. But the question is not whether you or I have the freedom to gamble. Or whether we “permit” gambling. The question is whether you, me and our democratic government have the freedom to use predatory, deceptive and addictive gambling products to exploit the human weaknesses of other citizens in our community for profit. After all, if it was really a matter of “personal freedom,” then why do many of the people who promote predatory gambling rarely exercise their personal freedom to use the product?
9. Promising big winnings when the intent is to increase tax revenue is deceptive and thus immoral
When states are deciding who they can turn to for more money to fund public services, the answer is nearly always the Lottery Class. They do it by adding faster, more intense and more expensive gambling products and then they sell them at even more locations in our communities.
It’s time we had an adult conversation about the government we want and how we want to pay for it. We need to put aside “childish things,” in the words of President Obama, which includes stopping our reliance on predatory gambling to pay for public services.
One of America’s most sacred founding principles was “no taxation without representation” and it’s time the principle of “no taxation by exploitation” was added right beneath it.
Imagine if Franklin Roosevelt, in the shadow of the Great Depression, had said he was going to legalize and promote slot machines to make up for “lost revenue” and to pay for the war effort.” How easy it would have been. Instead, he challenged the country to act together and buy savings bonds, which ultimately led America to achieve the highest savings rate of the 20th century. It helped spur a massive economic boom in which everyone prospered. The gap between rich and poor was the smallest it has been in the last 80 years.
Leaders like Roosevelt led America through turbulent times by inspiring us to hope for the best and then challenging us to go work for it. They called on us to invest in a common purpose. It’s the same kind spirit we need today.
10. We need better jobs than casino jobs
Legalizing slot machines is not going to rescue us or the state’s economy. We’re going to have to get out of this economic crisis the old-fashioned way–by digging inside ourselves and getting back to basics: improving U.S. productivity, saving more, reducing our debt, strengthening our families, studying harder and inventing more products and services to export. The days of phony prosperity are over.
The crisis on Wall Street- AIG, Lehman Brothers, Bernie Madoff and so on – are all part of what’s been called “casino capitalism” – using predatory practices and financial gimmicks to promote an illusion of free money, all at the expense of unsuspecting Americans. Most of us know a government run like a casino is not going to turn out any different.
11. Slots are a “Tax on the stupid”
What is elitist is the fact that many of the people who own the casinos or promote them don’t use the product. What is elitist is how people refer to slots as a “tax on the stupid” and a “tax on people who can’t do math.” What is elitist is while most of us are part of the investor class, putting money away in retirement accounts and 529 college funds for our kids, we have allowed our government to turn millions of people who are small earners with the potential to be small savers into a new class of habitual bettors – the Lottery Class. They represent the 1 out of 5 Americans who, according to the Consumer Federation of America, think the best way to achieve long-term financial security is to gamble.
Now to contrast, can you imagine the class action law suits by state attorneys general everywhere if Vanguard, Charles Schwab or Fidelity Investments offered to the public “an investment portfolio for the stupid” and marketed it as the “All It Takes Is a Dollar and a Dream Fund”?
The injustice of predatory gambling has prevented millions of low and moderate-income Americans from joining the class of savers and investors… from living the real American Dream, trapping a majority in a cycle of debt and poverty.
It’s time government encouraged people spending thousands of dollars a year on state-sponsored predatory gambling products instead to save and invest. If these same people put this money in an investment product, over 40 years they will have hit the jackpot. That’s the real American Dream.
12. State-sanctioned gambling undermines trust in government
“State-sponsored predatory gambling is essentially a corruption of democracy because it violates the most basic premises that make democracy unique: that you can be self-governing, you can be honest and open about your disagreements as well as your agreements, and that you trust other people that you are in this together. That’s what a compact of citizens is. And the first-step away from it is to play each other for suckers. We’re going to trick them into thinking they are going to get rich but they are really going to be paying my taxes.”
13. State-sponsored gambling is being done in “my name” and “your name” as citizens of the Commonwealth and beneficiaries or the profits
When it was revealed that companies like Countrywide Financial issued predatory subprime loans to millions of American families, most of us were angered by it. We felt for the families who were suffering as a result. But we were not executives who profited at the expense of low and middle income families. We weren’t owners of the company. However, predatory gambling is being done in my name and your name. Each of us is responsible for helping to turn the American Dream upside down for tens of millions of Americans. All of us are equal partners and shareholders in the predatory gambling trade. And because we own it, it’s up to us to fix it.
14. Predatory gambling victimizes people — the state should not be victimizing people
The casual player who visits a casino a couple of times a year is not much value to the casino from a revenue perspective. The lifeblood of the casino trade is the out-of-control gambler. 90% of the profits come from 10% of the gamblers. And they have a very good idea who these out-of-control gamblers are. Companies like Harrah’s can trace 75.6 percent of its gambling revenue back to specific customers.” 
15. It is the losses of your neighbor that pays your winnings – not the state
Any money someone wins at slots doesn’t come from the casino. They didn’t beat the casino. Casinos do not gamble – the odds are always fixed on their side. The money a person “won” came from the gambling losses of the other citizens in their local area. It came from the checking, savings and credit card accounts of their neighbors.
Let your Mayor, Representative and Senator know what you think about expanding gambling in Massachusetts.
Resting in Him,
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 184
 Testimony delivered by MIT Professor Dr. Natasha Schull to the Massachusetts Legislature, October 31, 2007
 Nova Scotia Gambling Prevalence Study, Office of Health Promotion, June 2004. Page XI
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 184
 “When Gambling Gets Out of Control” Kalamazoo Gazette by Linda Mah September 9, 2008 http://www.mlive.com/features/kzgazette/index.ssf?/base/features-0/1220971845287050.xml&coll=7
 Dr. Hans Breiter, Massachusetts General Hospital. Director, Motivational and Emotional Neuroscience Center. Video interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNL3FzU_glU
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 175
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 197
 “Harrah’s uses science to lure gamblers; Company amasses data on customers” The Wall Street Journal, Christina Binkley, Nov. 28, 2004
 “Casino fined $800K for marketing to banned gamblers” Chicago Business. Bob Tita, May 19, 2008 http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=29493&seenIt=1
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 177
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 177
 “China to the Rescue? Not!” The New York Times. Thomas Friedman, Dec. 20, 2008
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 177
 “Lottery Taxes Divert Income from Retirement Savings” The Tax Foundation, Alicia Hansen and Gerald Prante January 19, 2006 http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/1302.html
 Winner Takes All By Christina Binkley, 2008. Pg. 184
 Harrah’s uses science to lure gamblers; Company amasses data on customers” The Wall Street Journal, Christina Binkley, Nov. 28, 2004
Source for the list of 15 reasons: http://www.masscouncilofchurches.org/PredatoryGambFact09.htm (Accessed July 23, 2010)
Horse racing there, and around the country, is a dying breed.
New Jersey Doubles Down on Casinos
Benjamin Franklin derisively likened New Jersey to a keg tapped at two ends, with all the beer flowing into Philadelphia and New York. Things haven't changed much in the 200-plus years since Poor Richard made that observation, but today it's the coin of the state's gambling center that's flowing to other parts. Gov. Chris Christie was blunt this week, saying: "Atlantic City is dying."
The chips are down
The city is home to a dozen casinos, many along the famed Boardwalk, and a few farther away on the city's marina, like Harrah's and The Borgata, a joint venture of MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) and Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD).
Yet walk one block away from the jingling sounds of the slot machines, and you're in a gritty urban environment perceived as dangerous. Although the city's crime rate is below national averages -- a former governor once quipped it's because "there's nothing to steal" -- perception is reality, and the current governor wants to transport us to an alternate reality.
Christie has proposed plugging the state's leaky keg by taking over Atlantic City's casino district and stripping the municipal government of its functions. Services like policing and garbage collection would be turned over to an independent authority, essentially making it a city within a city. The governor wants to turn Atlantic City into a family-friendly entertainment destination, something on the order of Las Vegas.
Suffering a losing streak
Vegas woes have grabbed a lot of the headlines. In New Jersey, June gaming revenues fell 11%, to $287 million, and Pennsylvania is likely to siphon off even more bettors now that table games have started there. Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) opened a new casino last year in a former Bethlehem, Pa. former steel mill, making it an attractively close option for gamblers in the northern part of New Jersey.
If you're not a casino operator in New Jersey, though, you might be ready to go on a hot streak. Penn National Gaming (Nasdaq: PENN) just reported net income was lower than a year ago, but still much better than expected. It also raised full-year guidance. Lady Luck smiled on Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN), too, after Fitch Ratings upgraded its issuer default rating based on the casino operator's prospects in Macau.
The homestretch for racing
It's not just the casino business that's hurting in New Jersey. Horse racing there, and around the country, is a dying breed.
Churchill Downs (Nasdaq: CHDN), the operator of the venerable Kentucky Derby, has suffered several years of declining racing revenues, while the other two legs of racing's Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, almost went out of business this year. Penn National stepped up to save the Preakness, while cash-strapped New York loaned Belmont $25 million to finish out the 2010 season. New York track operator Empire Resorts (Nasdaq: NYNY) is also facing hard times.
Off to the glue factory
Part of Christie's plan is to sell off The Meadowlands racetrack in north Jersey, next to Giants Stadium, ending the state's $30 million-a-year subsidy to it along with centrally situated Monmouth Park. The plan comes down to focusing the state's gambling efforts in one area. If you want to be separated from your money, you'll need to go to Atlantic City to do it.
I'm not sure how smart that plan is. Northern New Jersey gamblers have several options in addition to Sands' steel city gambling hall, including the casinos run by Indian tribes at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut, and off-track betting offices in New York. Pennsylvania now offers those table games in the Poconos, too.
South Jersey might benefit from remaking Atlantic City into Las Vegas East, but there is competition in the form of racinos -- racetracks that offer other gambling options -- like Dover Downs in Delaware, racetracks in Maryland, and "slot barns" (similar to racinos) in Pennsylvania. New Jersey also won't be giving up its lottery anytime soon.
Will the state's plans revitalize Atlantic City and boost the big gaming companies there? Christie knows it's an uphill battle, saying Atlantic City had "squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in casino revenue" over the years. "We don’t have a monopoly anymore. The wave is not there anymore," he said.
Investors should keep an eye on New Jersey and keep some of Christie's other words in mind: "I don’t have the money to subsidize failure."
Friday, July 23, 2010
I would like to call your attention to an important legal matter that requires correction regarding Indian Gaming.
"Rosenberg said he hopes to see a final bill pass so that a regulatory structure will be in place if Native American tribes secure permission from the federal government for expanded gambling."
Found here [source: SHNS]:
Senator Rosenberg has continued to make untrue and misleading statements regarding
Tribal Casinos and IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act).
The fact is that Recognized American Indian Tribes may ONLY construct Slot Parlors,
Bingo Halls or any type of Gaming Facility on their own lands that have been place into
"Trust" by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs).
If that were not true, Middleboro would already have a Slot Parlor or Bingo Hall.
That process was stymied by the SCOTUS decisions that render the process meaningless.
One of those was the Carcieri v Salazer decision that clarified that the Mashpee Wampanoags
do NOT qualify for the Land into Trust process.
The other that has been ignored is the Hawaii v Office of Hawaiian Affairs that
Justice Alito then addressed the Apology Resolution, concluding that it does not strip the State of its sovereign authority to sell the lands granted to the State when it was admitted into the Union.
... would raise grave constitutional concerns if it were read to cloud Hawaii’s title to its sovereign land after Hawaii was granted statehood.
It is my understanding that the Federal Government may NOT take land away from a state - a
straight forward Constitutional issue.
Opinion Recap: Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs
This is of great concern to me and requires correction.
Thanks for your attention and the great work you do.
Check out what my friends, Gladys and Carver Chick had to say.
SPRINGFIELD – Democratic candidate for Hampden County District Attorney, Michael T. Kogut, today urged Holyoke Mayor, Elaine A. Pluta, and the Holyoke City Council to take great caution when considering a proposal for casino gaming which does not address the need for resources to fight increased crime.
In hand delivered letters to the Mayor and each of the fifteen Holyoke city councilors Kogut stated: “Study after study has shown when casinos come to town, crime increases. Robberies, aggravated assaults, domestic violence, motor vehicle violations, including DUI's, and embezzlements all increase. Those crimes place an added burden on the already inadequately funded local law enforcement, prosecutors, victims’ services and courts. Recently, the Massachusetts Bar Association released a report which stated there is a crisis in our courts due to inadequate funding. Placing additional cases on the courts will only exacerbate the problem. Those crimes take a serious and permanent economic and social toll. I do not believe that can go unaddressed.”
Kogut urged the city officials to take a thorough and realistic look at those states which have constructed casinos and the “unintended consequences” which now confront those communities. “As you consider the current Paper City Development proposal, I urge you, the city council, Chief Anthony Scott and other stakeholders in Holyoke to demand that adequate funding, with identified amounts and sources, be one of the first items discussed during negotiations. Anything less, will place added pressure on Holyoke’s public safety departments, the district court, probation and the county house of correction. Crime associated with casinos is not victimless. We will all pay if this issue is not seriously addressed,” Kogut stated.
Redevelopment Authority passes casino land sale
I was there along with two other Fall River residents and three people who lived elsewhere. A total of 6 whole people came to watch Fall River give away its valuable land without a drop dead date or a guarantee of no sovereign immunity. Sounds like a sweetheart deal for the Mashpees.
The entire meeting was a farce. The mayor sat in the back of the room and on two occasions I saw him give hand signals to Fiola regarding procedures. Torres lied to the RDA in his remarks when he stated that the Attorney General had voiced her opinion that this land and its covenants against gaming and landfill use did not fall under Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution requiring a 2/3 vote of the legislature. Senator Menard made the same assertions TWICE during senate debate and was refuted by Senator Montigny who called the AG and was categorically told that her office was never consulted on this issue, nor did she issue an opinion.
So Menard and Torres lied outright. And Torres is the chief negotiator for the contract with the Mashpees. Isn't this some sort of ethics issue?
It is a shame that the RDA did not heed Chairman Bill Kenney's concerns and allow the public to take a look at this contract and offer input. Why the rush?
In addition, in this article it says the mayor stated he wanted this open to the public because he didn't want anyone to think that he was doing anything behind closed doors. Well that entire speech was a HUGE set up. He indicated to Fiola to ask for an executive session, then stood and said he personally didn't want one. Bad piece of staging mr. mayor. I saw it all happen before my very eyes. Nice try. Wanting us all to think you were being above board, when this ENTIRE process was hidden from public view.
Shame on you. And shame on the residents of Fall River for not giving one fig about the most important decision in generations. The silence from the 92,000 people who live here was defining.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Here's a man, foolish enough to spend $189,000 on a Gambling Industry study of BENEFITS and he's concerned about those low wage dead end jobs he's creating?
Governor, you weren't listening!
Patrick, in a television interview from his trip to Iraq to visit troops, told WBZ's Jon Keller Wednesday, "I don't favor slots at the tracks. I don't think we get the pick-up in jobs and jobs at the highest possible wage and benefit level that we would at the destination resort-style setting (Governor, for $600 MILLION, you get a SLOT PARLOR!), but I have been asked by the speaker to keep an open mind. I've told you and everyone else and most particularly him that I will keep an open mind."
Open Mind? Methinks it closed with too much Casino KoolAid.
Reported by SHNS --
A lobbyist working on the bill, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "The fierce rhetoric over the last week has been about the perceived no-bid contract of the House bill, and that has been cured by this alleged compromise. So the governor should be happy with this. You're not going to come out with one bill that is going to make him perfectly content with the slots issue, but if there's going to be a bona fide compromise here, those two slot licenses to public bid have got to stay."
"If he's turned up the heat on the no-bid stuff and that's where he's been stuck … then he should be saying, 'All right, you did the right thing'," said the lobbyist.
Any pretense of credibility or transparency was destroyed by that comment.
Note to Beacon Hill: If you want voters to believe you are acting with integrity in a responsible fashion, you need to behave like it.
Legislation was crafted behind closed doors with Gambling Industry input.
If this isn't a corrupt process, actions prove otherwise!
This scenario is repeating itself in the stupidity of some inept folks in Fall River who have rushed a deal cloaked in secrecy, refusing to admit their lack of expertise.
Instead of having the sense to appoint a Study Committee that could/might consider the far-ranging impacts of a Slot Parlor in their midst that would reveal to them the impacts are multi-millions of dollars, this bunch is instead proceeding, failing to consider the costs.
Note to Fall River: You might find the reports that examined the impacts and are posted here - United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts of value.
Sorry Fall River! You're about to get screwed by incompetence!
Redevelopment Authority aims to finalize casino land sale
By Michael Holtzman
Herald News Staff Reporter
FALL RIVER — Nearly two months after reaching a tentative agreement to sell 300 acres next to Route 24 to the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe for an envisioned casino resort, the Redevelopment Authority will meet today with hopes of finalizing the deal.
Is that the one that hasn't been made public? The terms of which haven't been discussed in public?
The meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Office of Economic Development on the sixth floor of Government Center.
Redevelopment Authority Chairman William Kenney said their lawyers finalized contract details of the $21 million conditional sale on Friday. Kenney said he and member Ronald Rheaume went over the contract “line by line” for 1½ hours earlier this week with Jeffrey Ray, one of the two Providence lawyers hired as consultants.
And they've negotiated how many Indian Casino contracts? They've negotiated how many casino contracts?
“The big question, as far as I’m concerned, is sovereign immunity, and what rights does the tribe have when they take title?” Kenney, a city lawyer, said.
A city lawyer negotiating a Tribal Casino contract? Duh?
He’s particularly concerned about whether as a sovereign nation the Mashpee Wampanoags would be exempt from federal, state and local laws, particularly as it pertained to environmental and labor laws, he said.
If they were exempt, “it would be like dealing with a foreign country,” Kenney said.
No kidding, Sherlock! Why don't you recommend that they retain an attorney who specialies in Indian Gaming Law? This is the price of stupidity:
Tribe Renegs on $50 Million Bond
He said Ray and attorney William Devereaux, working on the agreement, said the tribe would need to follow those laws under the contract language.
Among provisions the Redevelopment Authority added when it tentatively approved the deal on May 26 was that all environmental laws be followed and city voters approve the land tract for a casino.
“It was stated in terms I didn’t find explicit enough,” Kenney said of the document that’s taken far more than the week or two he predicted it would in May. He said Wednesday he was awaiting further clarification from their lawyers with gaming and land expertise.
On the Redevelopment Authority signing a contract that has not been made public, he said, “A decision may be made Thursday, or the board may need further clarification.”
The Redevelopment Authority’s initial vote was 4-1 with member Ann Keane opposing the agreement because it removed the park from its planned use as a bio-manufacturing park.
The state committed $17 million in funding, the bulk of it for the University of Massachusetts to build a bio-processing facility for pilot projects in life sciences.
That plan has remained in limbo since Mayor Will Flanagan presented an agreement in principal with the Mashpee Wampanoags in early May. Various community leaders and politicians strongly criticized the long-planned use for a bio-park.
At this time, the critical component of legalizing casino gambling in Massachusetts remains in limbo. The key sticking point is whether to allow racetrack slot machines.
Finding a compromise bill remains before a six-member House and Senate conference committee.
A version of the bill approved by the House in April would license two resort-style casinos and allow 750 slots at each of the state’s racetracks.
A Senate bill approved in June would license three casinos, one in each of three geographic regions of the state, but maintain the state’s existing ban on racetrack slots.
One hurdle Fall River did scale was legislative approval to revoke prohibiting use of the 300 acres for casino gambling. That restriction was part of an agreement the city reached with the state on a more far-reaching land sale and transfer.
Kenney said basic premises of the May 26 agreement remained in place. They included that the city receive $100,000 when the pact was signed and another $100,000 in two parts this summer.
Most of the money, $20.8 million, would be paid at closing. There would be either a year or an 18-month window to complete the deal.
“It was our goal for it not to be open-ended forever, but to give the mayor and tribe a reasonable opportunity to see if it can work out,” Kenney said.
Kenney said it would be his aim for discussion at today’s meeting to remain in open session. Kenney stated the same thing two months ago when the RDA, with legal advice, met in executive session to discuss the contract.
The RDA set a cap of $10,000 for outside legal services to Ray and Devereaux. “I don’t believe we’re close to that yet,” Kenney said.
Is this the dumbest thing you've ever heard?