Saturday, April 17, 2010


A few months ago my kids were conducting their usual Monday afternoon debriefing of my weekend activities. I told them that one of the things I did was go with a friend to a casino in Connecticut. My daughter asked if lost a lot of money...I told her the truth...after an evening of hanging out and playing the slots I ended up loosing fifty cents....yes...I am a high roller...I explained that I was only going to use ten dollars with which to gamble and that I ended up taking home nine dollars and fifty cents...and I continue to begrudge Foxwoods my fifty cents.

The other day...while in the car...there was a news story about a move afoot to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts. Aidan chimed in that if Massachusetts got a casino I would not have to go all the way to Connecticut. I did feel compelled to explain that the reason I went to the casino was to tag along with a friend and that I did not...and really do not...find the Connecticut casinos all that compelling...

And they really aren't. My friend...and her sister...stayed at Foxwoods until about 3:30 in the morning...they were having a great time playing the slots...I had an interesting time observing the human carnage. It was not a pretty site...watching elderly people play slots at 3:00 in the morning is not a lot of fun...I am sure that until they caught the gambling bug the last time they were up past 11:00 was when Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show. And these were not weekend trippers from out of state...they were within a half an hour of the casino. Gambling addiction is rife in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island. In very unscientific sampling of the people with whom I chatted that evening...most of them were locals out on a Saturday night...

Now...with our politicians salivating over projected gaming appears all of the time and effort devoted to breaking the Mafia into tiny little pieces was merely an effort to grab the wiseguys' action and have the Commonwealth take over the numbers racket. We already have a lottery that preys on the poorest citizens of our state and now we have the folks on Beacon Hill climbing into bed with corporations who are bent on bringing casino gambling to Massachusetts.

The jobs a casino would create would be entry level, menial, and if the Connecticut casinos are a model for how casinos would be run in Massachusetts, not pay a living wage. The income they would generate...and the state would get a piece of the action...would be extracted mostly from Massachusetts residents. Among the sites proposed for casino gambling are Springfield and New Bedford, two of the poorer cities in Massachusetts that do not need the negative socio-economic impact of casino gambling. Casinos do not create wealth, they extract wealth.

People will gamble...they will drink, smoke, and use drugs. They always have and they probably always will. I am not against gambling per se...however...we ought to be against our elected officials running over a certain number of our own people as they chase down our states' piece of the region's gaming action. If casino gambling comes to our state, any piece of action the Commonwealth does get...would be blood money...plain and simple.

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