Monday, June 29, 2009

Senate "informational hearing" on expanded gambling

I attended the senate committee on economic development and emerging technologies today and had more than a few "twilight zone" moments.

Sen. Morrissy stated that we have a lottery that dedicates funds for costs of gambling addiction so with casinos we would have more funds right? Prof. Goodman replied. "Yes there would be more addiction." In fact, Dr. Goodman had just explained how addiction increases with promimity and all studies agree that proximity brings a multiplier effect of addiction. One gambling addict is projected to cost the tax payers over $13,200 per year in 1990's dollars. That's a heck of alot more than each of the children in the state got for public education.

The other bizzaro moment was when Senator Rosenberg tried to elict a number, a figure, how much dinero it would take to cover the cost of addiction?

There is no price for ruined lives.

Sen. Petrucelli could not sit still and came and left several times.

Sens. Spilka and Sen. Tucker were truly present and accounted for; their lights were on and the chair, Senator Spilka had some questions that were clearly from an individual working on digesting the information at hand.

The scariest part of the hearing was when the casino and financial consultants agreed with Professor Goodman that the state can no longer be the regulator when it becomes the biggest stakeholder/profiteer should they vote to expand gambling. "The state has to solve all the problems," said the corporate casino representative.

Be scared, this is scary.

So the state becomes the largest shareholder in promoting addictive behaviors. Sort of like the gambling pimp for the Commonwealth.

Gambling is not purely entertainment, it is a toxic sickness for thousands and we the people pay the price through our taxes and diminished quality of life.

Did I mention AG Coakley discussed that the NJ AG has 1,000 employees; 500 of which are employed to regulate the gambling industry? None of those costs were budgeted in any legislation to date.

Be scared, this is scary.

1 comment:

Middleboro Review said...


This is the state that brought the Big Dig to you.

Scared doesn't even come close!

The Professor's comment that was striking was when he explained that some people want you to believe 'this is just a form of entertainment like going to a Red Sox game' but people don't go to a Red Sox game and come home and commit suicide.

To which Senator Michael Morrissey argued that Mass residents were going to CT and bringing the gambling addiction back with them without the state benefitting from the revenues. He didn't understand the suicide part.

When you start to add in the expenses, all you hear are the echoes of 'cha-ching, cha-ching.'