Yes Means No to Casinos
You’ve probably seen the ads funded by out-of-state casino money making grand promises for Massachusetts. Some of the ads don’t even mention the word casino. These ads also talk about only one side of ledger, and history has told us that casino promises rarely pan out.
When thinking about casinos, we should all ask, where does the money come from? The state Gaming Commission projects $1.8 billion in casino revenue annually (note: casino revenue means money out of people’s wallets and bank accounts). It’s estimated that about half will be money lost by Massachusetts residents who currently don’t go to Connecticut to gamble. That means almost $1 billion dollars a year would be flowing out of local businesses, restaurants, and charities into the casinos. That’s like 10,000 Massachusetts businesses losing $100,000 per year. And when businesses lose money, people lose their jobs. That’s why it’s no surprise that casino cities like Atlantic City and Detroit have some of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
The ads talk of jobs for Springfield, but the host community agreement only says that the casino will make “best efforts” to hire locally. Promises and “best efforts” from the casinos have a history of not counting for much. A recent article about Ohio’s casinos reports that promises made leading up to Ohio’s 2009 referendum “remain largely unfulfilled” with less than half of the promised jobs and 40 percent of the projected tax revenue. Is it really worth the gamble, made based on inflated projections and selective accounting, to bring casinos into our region?
Please remember that, with the odd wording on the ballot question, a YES vote is a vote to keep Massachusetts casino-free.
Casinos, Love ‘em or Leave ‘em
Casinos have open doors. You can just walk in, but you don’t have to. If you are inside and you wish to leave, the door is right there as well. You are free to come and go.
Certain people want to restrict our freedom. This approach seems quite unkind, not at all a tolerant, live-and-let-live attitude. One group wants to prevent thousands of people from working in really needed jobs.
If you don’t like casinos, just don’t go in them, but please allow me and others to have the freedom of choice.
A Vote Against Corruption
For those of you who are registered to vote but think there’s no reason to bother because the whole process is rigged, it may be time to think again. Voters in Stan Rosenberg’s state senate district will have a question on their ballot related to cleaning up elections and government. Question 5 (except in Amherst and Royalston, where it is Question 6) calls on Sen. Stan Rosenberg to support legislation consistent with the American Anti-Corruption Act, a national initiative by the non-partisan, Florence-based group Represent.US (www.represent.us). Briefly, it stops legalized bribery by supporting funding of elections through small contributions by many instead of large amounts from a few. Also included is increased campaign finance disclosure, requiring legislators and top aides to wait 5 years after leaving government before becoming a lobbyist, and increasing penalties for violations of these laws.
The 1,500 registered voters who signed the Represent.US ballot initiative petitions to get this question on the ballot have given us a chance to tell Sen. Rosenberg, as well as everyone involved in the election process, that things need to change and they need to start now.