Letting casino wolves run wild

I am a strong supporter of Gov. Deval Patrick, but I think he’s facing a big mistake with the casino-gambling bill now headed toward a conference committee at the State House.

While many courageous legislators (Sen. Jamie Eldridge, Sen. Susan Fargo, Sen. Kenneth Donnelly, Sen. Barry Finegold, Sen. Karen Spilka and others) fought against this bill, it passed both chambers in recent days. United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts (www.uss-mass.org) has found the following:

  • The gambling bill put tens of millions of dollars at the disposal of the Gaming Commission without any accountability to taxpayers.
  • The bill takes away the rights of voters in Boston, Worcester and Springfield to vote on whether to approve locating a casino in their own communities.
  • Only 33 percent of the revenue will be spent as local aid to cities and towns, compared to the 68 percent to local aid from the Massachusetts Lottery.
  • The Lottery will suffer losses with expanded gambling, which means reduced local aid to cities and towns.
  • Moody’s Investor Service has recently reported that revenue projections, by proponents, have been over-inflated and are unlikely to occur.
  • Massachusetts residents would have to wager and lose an additional billion dollars per year to reach the revenue projections that have been “promised” with this proposal.
  • Casinos are cannibalistic and jobs will be lost.

It’s not too late to halt this sellout to a predatory industry. Massachusetts can recover without lowering our standards. In our hearts, we all understand how concentrating wealth leads to the erosion of real community when the super-rich wind up controlling our politics.

Gov. Patrick, please stop this bill. Don’t let these wolves into our Commonwealth.

PAUL GAUDET
Lowell

This letter originally appeared in the Lowell Sun.

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