MYTH #1 - Massachusetts is losing billions of dollars to Connecticut casinos
Simply untrue. It's estimated that Massachusetts residents contributed approximately $93 million to the Connecticut treasury in CY 2009 as a result of gambling. This is close to the amount we would lose with an expected 10% hit to the lottery. Other costs associated with expanded gambling are seldom factored into gambling export figures. Increased crime, impacts to communities and the need for social services also greatly increase costs. Negative effects on local businesses reduce tax revenue. If tribal casinos are established, there will be further lost tax revenues as well as increased legal costs associated with Indian affairs.
MYTH #2 - Casinos will provide thousands of good jobs
Casinos will create temporary construction jobs, as will other industries which don't require a new bureacracy to regulate or increace crime and addiction.
As for permanent jobs, the great majority of jobs at casinos can regularly be found on the Forbes list of worst paying jobs in America - including that of 'gaming dealer'.
Repeal the Casino Deal supports sustainable job creation and economic development. Slot parlor and casino job numbers and incomes have been widely overstated by proponents. According to the 2007 National Compensation Survey compiled by the US Dept of Labor's Division of Labor Statistics the median hourly wage for gaming service employees is estimated at $6.34 per hour with annual median earnings of $13,179 (pg. 13.)
Spectrum Gaming soundly refuted the job creation numbers projected in Governor Patrick's legislation to approve three casinos that was defeated in the Legislature in 2008. 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.
MYTH #3 - 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 and market saturation. 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.
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. 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.
MYTH #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.
According to a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce report commissioned in March 2008, if the lottery takes a 10% hit from the introduction of casinos and slots, as it is expected to do, state lottery transferred as state aid to towns and cities will be reduced by about $90 million. Unlike casinos and slot parlors, the lottery returns the vast amount of it's profits directly to cities and towns. Massachusetts cannot afford this hit to the Lottery.
Moreover, proximity to predatory gambling increases addiction within a 50 mile radius by double. The costs of managing local increases in addicted and problem gamblers, negaitive impacts to municipalities, air and water pollution, and additional infrastructure, are just some additional reasons to keep casinos out of the Commonwealth.
MYTH #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.
Many people signing petitions to put the Repeal qestion on the ballot cited concerns about casinos getting too close for comfort, becoming an easy temptation, for themselves or a loved one already coping with a gambling problem thanks to Connecticut or Rhode Island casinos. Of course, this is just what the gambling industry is hoping for.
MYTH #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.
People are always going to gamble, so we should just make it legal
True. Gambling has existed since the dawn of recorded time - and so has gambling addiction. In fact, many people don't realize that there have been numerous gambling "boom and bust" cycles throughout our own American history in which legalized gambling has has been allowed to proliferate, followed by a period of state constitutional prohibition. This is invariably due to the ultimate recognition of negative impacts on a mass scale, such as a loss of jobs from the overall region, economic disruption of other businesses, increased crime and large social-welfare costs for society in general and government agencies in particular.
There also exists a misconception that new casinos in Massachusetts will essentially serve existing gamblers who already frequent casinos in other states. Actually, new gamblers will be created, along with more problem and pathological gamblers, and the problems they create for their families and the community. The gambling industry's business model relies on these problem and pathological gamblers, for the bulk of its revenue.
Also, since the mid-eighties, slot machines, the one-armed-bandits that once constituted only a fragment of total casino reveneue, have been redesigned using advanced digital technology. Now responsible for the bulk of a casinos profits, slot machines are deliberately programmed to keep players at the machine longer, losing more money, and often losing track of time. Every year the technology employed by slot machine manufacturers becomes more insidious and powerful, acting on areas of the human brain not unlike a narcotic, causing some neuroscientists to refer to modern slot machines as the crack cocaine of gambling. Gambling addiction that once took a decade or more to develop now occurs very quickly.
In other words, gambling has always existed, and it also has always caused a lot of problems for society. And that leads to gambling eventually being outlawed - until people forget how bad it was - or in the case of the Massachusetts gambling law, until enough politicians can justify legalization to increase budget revenue without the onerous burden of raising taxes.
But, with reliance on casino tax revenue, Massachusetts will now become a stakeholder in the gambling industry, making prohibition or even stricter regulation unlikely. A top reason voters should act now to repeal the casino law before it's too late.
MYTH #8 - The benefits from expanded gambling out-weigh any costs
Niether the Legislature nor Governor performed their fundamental responsibility to the people of Massachusetss by demanding a comprehensive, balanced, data-driven, cost-benefit analysis of predatory gambling before licensing slots or casinos in the Commonwealth.
Every community where a casino has been implemented, addiction has spread, crime has gone up, property values have gone down, and small business have been negatively impacted.
But these types of costs, unlike various gambling revenue estimates, are difficult for anyone but experts to quantify, and so, amazingly they were essentially left out of the legislative decision-making process that lead to the casino law.
MYTH #9 - If federally recognized Native American Tribes can build tax-free casinos in Massachusetts, the State would be better off legalizing slots and taxing commercial casinos
In fact, the opposite is true.
Keeping slots illegal in Massachusetts prevents the establishment of tribal casinos.
But legalizing slots makes tribal casino more likely.
When the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe received federal recognition in February 2007, many people beleived that Class III gambling (slots machines) would be inevitable in Massachusetts. This bit of misinformation was used to convince many Middleboro voters to believe that a casino was inevitable.
Tribes cannot engage in any form of gambling on their sovereign territory that is not legal in the state. The state cannot be compelled to sign a compact for gambling with a tribe.
What about the "Vegas Night" exception? Can having legal one-night charity games open the door to tribal 'gaming'? No. Texas, like Massachusetts, has a lottery and Vegas Nights (one night licenses to operate slot machines for charity) but slots are illegal. Tribes there tried to prove that this created precedent for allowing tribal there casinos to offer slots. But courts disagreed that this wasn't a compelling argument since Texas has shown a consistent history of opposing level III gambling. Like Massachusetts.
Tribal gambling enterprises must be established on tribal lands - sovereign territory - property that has been removed from state tax rolls and taken in trust for the tribe by the federal government. There is a separate, even more complex process required for taking land in trust for 'gaming'. In some cases, the host community must approve the application. In any event, tribes must submit a detailed application to the government to put any land into trust, and it is not always a sure thing. In recent years regulations regarding the taking of land into trust, especially for 'gaming' have become more restrictive.
Matters were further complicated for the two federally recognized Massachusetts tribes, the Mashpee and the Aquinnah Wampanoag when, in February 2009, the the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the case of Carcieri v. Kempthorne (now known as Carcieri v. Salazaar) that the Indian Regulatory Act did not apply to tribes recognized after 1934. Consequently, the Indian Gaming Act would also no longer apply to tribes recognized after 1934. Both of these Massachusetts tribes were federally recognized well after 1934.
Shortly after the Salazar decision, in Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Supreme Court ruled that, "Congress cannot, after statehood reserve or convey submerged lands that have already been bestowed upon a State" - further reducing the likelihood of any Federal land-in-trust acquisitions in Massachusetts.
In her testimony before the legislative Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies in June 2009, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley stated that
"The Supreme Court's decision this past February in the Carcieri case effectively puts the Wampanoags and other tribes in Massachusetts on the same footing as any other private party because the Secretary of the Interior's ability to acquire land for Native Americans is limited to those already under Federal Jurisdiction at the time the Indian Reorganization Act was enacted in 1934. Massachusetts' Native American tribes each came under Federal Jurisdiction after 1934. As a result, they are entitled to make an application and bid for a gaming license like anyone else, but do not have special entitlement to conduct gaming under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act or the Indian Reorganization Act."
However, if a state does legalize class III gambling, either through casinos, racinos or slot parlors, Tribes can ask Congress to give them land into trust for 'gaming', claiming the state has an unfair economic advantage, and they would have a good case.
For example, Florida had consistently managed to keep the Seminole tribe from winning their bid to bring slots to the state. The Tribe was allowed to offer level II gambling (the much less lucrative bingo slots which managed to attract gamblers mainly because there was no other slot-style 'gaming' for 600 miles around.) But Vegas-style slots are where the big money is. The courts, however, consistently backed Florida by ruling that the State did not have to sign a compact for expanded gambling with the Tribe. But then the State granted a slot licence to a racetrack, and the tribes were allowed to open full-fledged mega casinos.
It should be noted that there are currently 2 recognized Indian Tribes in Massachusetts, and 6 other Tribes which could seek recognition.
MYTH #10 - Massachusetts voters already approved casinos
Massachusetts voters have never had a chance to cast their votes on whether they want casinos in our state.
After thirty years of debating the issue and subsequently voting not to legalize casinos and slots parlors, the state found itself with three pro-casino advocates filling the three highest ranking seats in State Government - Governor Deval Patrick, House Speaker Bob DeLeo and and Senate President Terese Murray. All of whom, it would later be revealed, did not want a casino anywhere near them.
Helping to further grease the skids, the gambling industry pumped $11.4 million into lobbying efforts on Beacon Hill in the five years leading up to the 2011 vote to legalize casinos.
Since then, some cities and towns have voted to host casinos, while others have voted no. Residents of surrounding cities and towns, often closely abutting proposed casinos have had no vote whatsoever.
MYTH #12 - We won't able to balance this year's state budget without revenue from casinos
Massachusetts budgets have survived without casinos for over 300 years. Connecticut, on the other hand, has been home to the world's two largest casinos for over 20 years and still has trouble balancing it's budget. And, for what it's worth, the city of Detroit, with large three casinos of it's own, managed to go bankrupt.
Furthermore, the anticipated $73 million in casino revenue works out to only 0.2 percent of the total State budget.
According to Andrew Bagley, director of research and public affairs at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the included gaming money is “minimal,” and will have virtually no impact on the budget.
“It’s perfectly manageable should those revenues not be available,” Bagley said. “It’s not going to be a problem to balance the [2015 fiscal year budget].”
Even Governor Patrick is unconcerned that a Repeal of the casino law could result in less money in the budget. "it's not such a big number that we can't cope with it if things go in the opposite direction," he stated.
The inability to balance a state budget without casino revenue is a delibrate invention promulgated by legislators either too lazy or intellectually ill-equipped to seek and implement revenue sources that don't cause harm the citizens and businesses of Massachusetts.
Expanded gambling is a gimmick more and more lawmakers across the country are using to fill in budget gaps without making hard choices, justifing regressive taxation (a tax that takes a larger percentage from low-income people than from high-income people) under the guise of harmless entertainment.
By creating a dependency on casino revenue, our state becomes a stakeholder in the gambling industry itself, obligated by necessity and self-interest to ensure and maintain casino profits above a certain threshold.
In fact, in Delaware, New Jersey and Rhode Island, early adopters of expanded gambling, the tables have turned, and now instead of providing unlimited revenue, casinos have received taxpayer breaks, bailouts, and concessions to stay afloat.
MYTH #13 - We already have gambling in the form of the lottery
The Mass State Lottery was created in 1971. It began with one daily drawing, 6 days a week. It is now the most successful lottery in the United States. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Lottery returned over $983 million in net profit to the Commonwealth, of which over $883.7 million in unrestricted direct local aid was distributed to the 351 cities and towns. That is more than twice the amount of money that the two Connecticut casinos, combined, returned in revenue to the state.
According to a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce report commissioned in March 2008, if the lottery takes a 10% hit from the introduction of casinos and slots, as it is expected to do, state lottery transferred as state aid to towns and cities will be reduced by about $90 million.
Most of the money spent in casinos goes into the pockets of billionaire casino investors. Most of the money spent on the Mass State Lottery goes directly back to the citizens of Massachusetts in the form of prizes and local aid.
MYTH #14 - People in Massachusetts should be free to gamble as long as it's regulated, just like with alcohol and cigarettes.
First, people are free to gamble. A southerly drive to Connecticut will take you to two of the world's biggest casinos. If that's too far, there are two more casinos in Rhode Island. And frankly, they could use your business. Market saturation is driving down revenue and causing layoffs. But, unlike Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island are already completely dependent on casino revenue.
Second, gambling is not the same as alcohol or cigarettes. In the case of cigarettes, the government recognizes the health risks to non-smokers and has heavily taxed the product while severely prohibting where smoking is permitted. But in the case of casino gambling, despite a wealth of evidence and expert testimony, and the fact that none of our top elected officals want one near them, Massachusetts gone out of it's way to maximize the availability of gambling outlets. And, if we are to follow in the footsteps of other gambling states, whenever the casino revenue stream is threatened, government will loosen previous regulation in an effort to increase it.
The failure Prohibition is often used to rationalize expanding government’s partnership with gambling. But while the prohibition of alcohol may have been a failed policy, commercial gambling was successfully criminalized nearly everywhere in the United States for most of the 20th century. And while citizens have every right to engage in a destructive obsessions, the government has no business encouraging them for profit. In the case of expanded casino gambling, the state is not merely permitting private, consensual behavior - it is granting monopolies and awarding regulatory advantages to favored firms.
MYTH #15 - Slots will save the State's racetracks
The people of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly to close the dog racing tracks by ballot initiative. The Commonwealth provided for tax-funded job re-training for employees of the tracks to off-set any losses to their employment. In neighboring Rhode Island, slots were supposed to save the track, but racing remained a revenue loser, and when the casino filed for bankruptcy, the racing component was quickly jettisoned as unprofitable. Similar scenarios are unfolding around the country. Propping up the racing industry has become a conveinent excuse for casino investors to justify the legalization of slots parlors. What other failing industries in the Commonwealth have received similar legislative salvation?
MYTH #16 - 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.
MYTH #17 - The people promoting the repeal of the casino law are religious nanny-state zealots who want to take our freedoms away!
The people who are promoting the repeal of the casino law range from religious to atheist. They are conservative, liberal and moderate. They are Democrat, Republican and Independent. They are poor, affluent and middle class. Blue collar and white collar. Some gamble. Some don't. They have been called everything from elitists to simpletons and a lot of stuff in between.
And while many of them have always opposed gambling as economic policy, many others became active in the anti-casino movement as a result of watching the dark comedy that is gambling expansion play out in their own communities over the last decade.
But mostly they are people with high expectations for the Commonwealth. They care deeply for Massachusetts, enough to fight a long, uphill battle against deep-pocketed billionaires, regularly pushed aside by revenue-focused politicians and ignored by the media. They have volunteered many thousands of hours against all these odds to educate their neigbors and policy makers. That's who they are. And they greatly appreciate the fact that you took the time to visit this web site for more information on this very important issue.