Expanded Gaming: Legislation Deserves to be Passed

The House of Representatives is expected to report out of committee first and then vote on a final version later this week of the expanded gambling bill that will allow three casinos and one slot machine racino to be licensed in the state of Massachusetts.

The earth will not tremble if this happens. Life will not substantially change for the vast majority of the people living in our state.

Everything this Commonwealth has come to be won’t be ruined by casino gambling anymore than it has been ruined by the State Lottery.

What will change, if a casino comes here to Suffolk Downs and elsewhere, is that a new revenue source, and a powerful one at that, will have been created at a moment in our economic history when we need a new and powerful revenue stream more than ever before.

In addition, hundreds and maybe even thousands of construction jobs and casino positions will be created if three casinos are built and the slot racino.

The state will collect huge fees for the right to operate a casino.

At minimum if three casinos and one slot parlor are licensed it will cost the license holders almost $350 million and that’s non-refundable.

Then comes the task of building the places at a cost of $500 million per casino. For the casinos by themselves, this implies that the owners will be obligated to spend at least $1.5 billion to create their entertainment and gambling venues.

Best of all, not one penny of this investment money is provided by the state.

It is all private money creating new jobs and a revenue stream for the state.

For the Massachusetts casinos there is a guarantee – and that guarantee is located in Connecticut where two casinos operating there will lose at least $150 – $200 million

In revenues which will stay in Massachusetts.

One of the harsh realities about building casinos in this state is that their presence here will stop revenue from going to Connecticut.

And while we don’t wish to continue harping upon it, a casino at Suffolk Downs, which we welcome, will be a strong boost to the local economy.

There is no doubt about it.

Approximately 27 million passengers passed through Logan Airport last year. Figures are up for this year.

If only five percent of those visitors to our city visit a casino at Suffolk Downs, then the casino will serve 1.3 million visitors in addition to the visitors that will go to be entertained at the casino from the general population in the area and from New Hampshire.

However, the most important reason to get this casino initiative going is jobs and investment, more jobs and more investment. More tax money for the state and more tax money for the impacted communities and more mitigation funds from the casino owners.

That’s what it’s about. Society won’t collapse with the advent of a casino here.

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