Casinos in Massachusetts?
The Hiller Instinct: Casinos in Massachusetts?
In the past, state lawmakers just said no to slots and casinos, but this time, my bet is they'll say yes. And justify the shift by talking about jobs, not jackpots....
Despite the tantalizing promise of instant wealth, Massachusetts hasn't bought into the dream...yet.
The last time the legislature considered casino gambling, it lost by more than two to one...and former House Speaker Sal DiMasi's opposition was a big reason why...
But, now, casinos are calling again...and this time, the House Speaker--Robert Deleo--is all for them, plus slot machines at race tracks (two are in his district).
Here's what else has changed:
In 2008, when the legislature voted, the state unemployment rate was 4.5 per cent.
Now, it's more than doubled...to 9.5 per cent.
More than 160,000 jobs have been lost, and casinos could create new jobs and new revenue for the state. The people are for it. In our most recent 7news suffolk university poll, 57% supported casino gambling, while 34% opposed it.
This is a high stakes game: Bay State bettors spent an estimated $730 million at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in 2009.
Gambling's opponents have always made good arguments about its personal and social costs.
But this time, I think, they will all be trumped by the bad economy.
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