Big Fire Law and Policy Group   712.224.5420

Editorial: Right time for gaming in Massachusetts

"For months, state officials have been poring over studies on casino gambling, in anticipation of yesterday's briefing for Governor Patrick. Between now and Labor Day, the governor will be wading through material on regulatory issues, gross tax revenues, and potential economic impacts from pathological gambling, to name just a few factors. It's not clear where he will land on the question of expanded gambling. One thing, however, is clear: Thousands of Massachusetts residents will be heading for Connecticut casinos while he ponders the issue.

The evident demand for casino gambling in this state coincides with calls for more state aid to support education, public safety, and public works in the state's 351 cities and towns. One obvious solution would be the creation of an attractive destination casino like Foxwoods, or perhaps more than one, where the taxpayers get cut in for a significant piece of the action.

This page has opposed proposals for casinos in Massachusetts in the past. We sounded alarms about casino operators who muscle state officials for tax breaks while undermining local businesses and draining cash from players who risk more than they could afford to lose. Indeed, as casinos have proliferated nationwide, the results for a small number of problem gamblers have been financially disastrous. Still, for most adults, casino gambling is entertainment and nothing more; millions of Americans have voted with their feet for the notion that casinos are an acceptable, even desirable part of the US leisure industry.

As public attitudes and the state's needs have evolved, so has this page's view of casinos. The Patrick administration and the Legislature should make way for casino gambling here as a way to recapture and redirect money that could be used to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts.

Casino gambling is not the ideal way to increase state revenues, but it is a proven winner in that field."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Casinos reconsidered (The Boston Globe 7/26)

Other Views:
Editorial: Don't roll the dice on casinos in Mass (The Waterbury Republican 7/26)
Editorial: Give Plainville same fair deal (The Plainville Sun 7/26)