Sunday, September 27, 2009

Peanuts, Popcorn!

Hey, every now and then ya just gotta have fun. So here's what I do to kick back on a Friday afternoon with the effervescent Professor Jerold Duquette on his Longmeadow Cable TV show (LCTV) "Put Up Your Duq's". Grab a snack and enjoy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Legislators called upon to perform due diligence


Legislators called upon to perform due diligence

(Palmer) United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts (USS Mass) calls upon the Legislature to perform due diligence with an independent commission appointed to conduct a data-driven cost-benefit analysis of legalizing slots and predatory gambling in the current global recession. In a letter distributed to Legislators today, USS Mass wrote, “Proponents of corporate casinos, racetracks and predatory gambling have spent millions of dollars from out-of-state interests lobbying legislators since Governor Patrick’s failed proposal to license three resort casinos was filed. Special interest groups have targeted the Commonwealth as a market for expanding their profits at the expense of host regions, local aid, small businesses, public safety, environment, taxpayers, individuals and families affected by the negative impacts of this industry. Wildly inflated job projections and revenues have been disseminated in the media by the corporate gambling industry, the Administration and alleged researchers funded by gambling and construction groups. The global recession has impacted revenues with casinos and racinos going bankrupt and creating economic instability. We call on you as an elected representative of the citizens and taxpayers of the Commonwealth to conduct an independent cost-benefit, data-driven analysis of expanded gambling before legalizing slots or any form of predatory gambling.”

USS Mass, President Kathleen Conley Norbut stated, “We are citizens and taxpayers of the Commonwealth who along with many of our fellow citizens do not trust the one-sided figures disseminated by lobbyists and proponents of predatory gambling.” Ms. Norbut continued,It is clear to the average citizen that the casino train left the station ten years ago…and crashed. Special interests must be clouding the vision of legislative leadership to pursue such a reckless course when bankruptcy, lay-offs and cannibalization of small businesses by the casino industry are rampant.”

# # # #

Thursday, September 17, 2009

United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts

Dear friends,

I would like to invite you to visit the website launched earlier this month by an all volunteer committee of concerned citizens and taxpayers, collaborating with statewide organizations from across the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts to stop the legalization of predatory gambling and slots in Massachusetts.

Please sign up to support the work we are doing to defeat the wrong-headed proposals to legalize predatory gambling and slots in Massachusetts. Your comments, suggestions and donations are welcome!



United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts
PO Box 376
Palmer, MA 01069

Friday, September 11, 2009

Waltham Democratic City Committee - cudos

The Waltham Forum on legalizing predatory gambling in the Commonwealth held last night was outstanding. Tom Larkin is to be commended for his work in organizing this important and dignified community conversation. Bob Logan, Waltham City Councillor and chair of the Waltham DCC, Scott Harshbarger - moderator, and the proponent Tom Hill - Marlborough DCC, chair were gracious in their presence and presentations.

There were approximately 40 people in attendance with local cable access taping the show. It began at 7:15pm and ended just before 9pm with all audience members who chose to offered an opportunity to speak to the group. It was a balanced presentation with the majority of audience members speaking against the legalization of predatory gambling and slots. In attendance were Rep. Koutoujian (D-Waltham) and Rep. Conroy (D-Wayland) as well as Governor's Councillor Marilyn Petito Devaney.

Rep. Conroy spoke about his on-going work regarding cost-benefit analysis of the proposals to legalize expanded gambling. I applaud him for his measured and rational approach to this issue. The Western MA Casino Task Force, USS Mass and many diverse organizations and individuals have called for an independent-balanced, data-driven cost-benefit analysis with full mitigation and budgets to be performed before any expanded gambling is legalized in the Commonwealth. The Governor of New Hampshire recently appointed a commission to perform that task for the our neighboring state. No tax dollars are necessary for a blue-ribbon commission to be appointed to fulfill this basic governmental task.

Thank you again to the organizers and participants - civic engagement in action.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pssst! Preview of Coming Attractions!

USS Mass - United to Stop Slots is getting ready to launch a fantastic website designed and created by the extraordinarily talented web-designer and blogger Mary Tufts, aka Gladys Kravitz.

Please take a minute to check out the website and join our non-partisan ranks of individuals, organizations and regions in the Commonwealth opposed to predatory gambling.
Members of USS Mass distributed literature to Democratic Legislators at the statehouse today. Next week Republican Legislators will receive educational materials from USS Mass. If you would like to assist in our efforts to Stop Slots in Massachusetts please contact me and sign up on the website.

Meet us on Facebook (search United to Stop Slots)!

Please forward widely.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Slot and Casino Myths

Slot and Casino Myths - 2009

1.) Casinos will provide thousands of good jobs. --- Casinos will create temporary construction jobs. USS Mass supports sustainable job creation and economic development. Slot parlor and casino job numbers and incomes have been widely overstated by proponents. Spectrum Gaming soundly refuted the job creation numbers projected in Governor Patrick’s legislation to approve three casinos that was defeated in the Legislature. Economic development continues to be overstated by proponents who never account for jobs lost from businesses that fail due to the all-encompassing predatory nature of casino capitalism. Just take a look at Cripple Creek, Colorado. For this and many other critical reasons, USS Mass has called upon the Legislature and the Governor to develop a blue-ribbon commission to perform a comprehensive, balanced, data-driven, cost-benefit analysis of predatory gambling before licensing slots or casinos in the Commonwealth

2.) The tax revenue from slots will balance budgets, lower taxes and
send more money to cities and towns ---

Tax revenues from casinos are lower than projected just two years ago due to the global recession. Mitigation costs continue to rise. Expansion of government to manage the corporate casino industry that has known negatives such as traffic and public safety, crime, bankruptcy, family violence and other social problems creates enormous fiscal burdens on communities and taxpayers. In June, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, informed the legislative Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies that other states with regulatory commissions on predatory gambling employ staff of over 500 people alone. Funding for this commission is not included in legislation, and hidden costs such as this will take a huge chunk of that "new revenue". Surveillance, money laundering, purchase of technology and personnel alone will consume hundreds of millions of dollars. Local impacts in the hundreds of millions of dollars will either be paid by the state of the local taxpayers. Connecticut Attorney General Blumenthal confessed at a public forum on casinos that the state of Connecticut made a huge mistake through not planning for or adequately mitigating the local impacts. Revenues from CT casinos have been dispersed throughout the state with the host regions starved of needed funds. It is the position of USS Mass that the Legislature and the Governor have a fundamental responsibility to the people of the Commonwealth to perform a comprehensive, balanced, data-driven, cost-benefit analysis of predatory gambling before licensing slots or casinos in the Commonwealth.

3.) Slots will save the State's racetracks---The people of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly to close the race tracks last year through Ballot #3. Predatory slot machines are designed to addict players and are a regressive tax policy. The Commonwealth provided for tax-funded job re-training for employees of the tracks to off-set any losses to their employment.

4.) We need to recapture the money going to out-of-state casinos---A small percentage of Massachusetts residents gamble in facilities located in other states. The re-capture of these revenues that have been exaggerated to be as high as a billion dollars a year are in reality almost half that figure. The amount of gambling revenue that “goes out-of-state”, would be re-captured through taxation at approximately 27% according to past and current legislative proposals. Proximity to predatory gambling increases addiction within a 50 mile radius by double. The costs of managing local increases in addicted and problem gamblers, impacts to municipalities, air and water pollution are additional reasons why USS Mass recommends in the strongest terms, that the Legislature and the Governor perform a comprehensive, balanced, data-driven, cost-benefit analysis of predatory gambling before licensing slots or casinos in the Commonwealth.

5.) Gambling is just another form of entertainment---not for those who
are addicted. The casino industry depends on people "playing to
extinction." This is a form of entertainment for some, and a way of
life for too many. Massachusetts residents and Legislators reject predatory lending, drug and tobacco predatory marketing and product misrepresentation. Slots are designed to psychologically prey upon the user. Revenues from addicted and problem gamblers have been analyzed by national expert Professor Grinols to provide 70-80% of all revenues. Therefore, the business model is designed to receive profits from addicted users, not “entertainment”. “Entertainment” is the cloak surrounding the predatory core of the slot machine product and the business model. “Gaming” became the code word for “gambling” in the industry’s marketing vernacular to disguise the core of the business. Gambling by another word is still gambling by another word.

6.) Any new form of revenue is good revenue---Revenue is only positive revenue if it is a net profit and does not harm people and society. Predatory gambling revenues do neither.

7.) The benefits from expanded gambling out-weigh any costs---Really?
Let us repeat our call for the Legislature and Governor to perform their fundamental responsibility to the people of the Commonwealth to perform a comprehensive, balanced, data-driven, cost-benefit analysis of predatory gambling before licensing slots or casinos in the Commonwealth.
40 States, including California, have legalized expanded gambling for revenue purposes. California is almost bankrupt. Our taxes are lower than those in PA, CT, and NJ.

8.) Slot parlors are better than casinos, and will produce almost instant revenue---Actually, slot parlors are worse. 10% of the players account for 90% of the profit, and in this economy, that 10% are those already suffering. This is simply regressive in nature and little job development is created. Money is sucked from the local and regional economies with small businesses and municipalities negatively fiscally impacted.