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"I have to say to Kathleen Norbut - she's got a group of warriors behind her who have learned about this"
- Senator Susan Tucker
In her final statement at the senate casino debate
July 1, 2010

Casino foes warily savor a seeming victory: Fears remain gambling bill could be revived
August 7, 2010
"It's totally just another [twist] in this ongoing soap opera, where gambling destroys the process," she said. "I think a lot of folks in the opposition are just rolling their eyeballs and shaking their heads and saying, 'Clearly the special interests appear to have Beacon Hill in a tizzy.'"

(USS-Mass President Kathleen Norbut) said she is not surprised. Other states have also considered gambling bills under "bizarre and weird" circumstances, she said.

"For example, in Pennsylvania, it was July 4, in the middle of the night," Norbut said. "It's par for the gambling course."

Mass. lawmakers weigh 3 casinos, 2 slot parlors
July 30, 2010
Gambling opponents complained about even that concession, saying it betrayed Patrick's past statements about the social costs and job concerns attached to slot parlors.

"It is beyond disappointing that this 'different kind of leader' would abandon such core values and core supporters to make a deal in this election year in such an obvious, old-school Beacon Hill quid pro quo," said former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, the Democrats' 1998 gubernatorial nominee.

Bob Massie, vice president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, said: "Racinos, as the governor said, are no-bid contracts in which particular private individuals will make millions of dollars off of government support and off the backs of the working class."

Group: Gambling in state needs analysis
July 28, 2010
"Gov. Patrick opened the flood gates a few years ago, allowing millions of dollars to flow through lobbyists who have been crawling through the State House for years without ever discussing the cost and the impact," she said. "What we're going to see is a bill of about 100 pages that is slam-jammed together and presented for an up or down vote. It's been a horrific process. Anyone who cares about this process should call on Gov. Patrick to hold this legislation until a cost analysis has been performed."

(USS-Mass President Kathleen Norbut) added, "This is a bill that has been written by and for the gambling industry. We know that even the Republican conference committee members have not been allowed in the secret compromise meetings that are being held behind closed doors. This needs to end. Local boards and committees are required to post meetings 24 hours in advance and hold them in public. They should be held to the same standards. The Legislature is giving the Commonwealth away -- even the licensing fees the governor proposed with his own legislation two years ago aren't being upheld. He needs to veto any bill and make them come back to it in January."

22News inFocus: Casino debate
July 25, 2010


Kathleen Norbut in an amazing interview on 22News InFocus (first video) then going head to head in a debate with Paul Burns (second video.)

Impasse heartens gambling opponents: stalled talks may signal bill's demise
July 23, 2010
"The focus on Beacon Hill seems to be on clocks and calendar and striking a quote-unquote deal," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts. "You can't get it right. There is no right for an industry and product that is predatory and more costly than any alleged revenues."

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says compromise casinos bill needs his support or needs to be veto-proof
July 22, 2010
"It's well past time for the speaker and the Senate president to stop this greed-driven soap opera and focus on producing other bills which will have a positive impact on our commonwealth," said Kathleen C. Norbut of Monson, president of United to Stop Slots Massachusetts. "We all know other, meaningful priorities are being held up and are in danger of failing because of this greed and power-driven casino ego contest."

Former Attorney General L. Scott Harshbarger said legislators should focus on bills to boost the economy and lower costs of health care. "Those and other bills are far more important than the special interest bonanza for casino investors, which will only hurt our state," Harshbarger said in a statement.

Patrick raises possibility of casino bill veto
July 22, 2010
"It's well past time for the speaker and Senate president to stop this greed-driven secret soap opera and focus on producing other bills which will have a positive impact on our Commonwealth. We all know other, meaningful priorities are being held up and are in danger because of this greed- and power-driven casino ego contest," Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, said in a statement.

Slots Debate May Mean More Delays For Casino Bill
July 19, 2010
Opponents of the bill said even if a compromise emerges in time that it will invigorate their efforts.

"If they pass a bill it's going to regenerate our interests and our energy to fight this thing," said Tom Larkin from United to Stop Slots Massachusetts."

Larkin said USS wants state lawmakers to consider independent reviews of the social costs of gambling before approving anything.

Opponents Urge Speaker DeLeo to Come Clean on Claim that Casinos will deliver $100 Million in Local Aid
July 15, 2010
BOSTON - Casino opponents today challenged House Speaker Robert DeLeo to back up his claim that Massachusetts will receive $100 million in additional local aid through the House casino proposal or admit he is offering only hollow promises of property tax relief with diverted cash from state Lottery losses.

"It's time for the Speaker and fellow leaders on Beacon Hill to be honest with the people of the Commonwealth," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts. "These proposals are not new revenue - they are cover for the losses to local aid that will occur with expanding predatory gambling. Suggesting the Speaker's bill will help local aid and provide long-promised property tax relief is a shell game."

Crunch time for Massachusetts gambling debate
Commonwealth Magazine
July 14, 2010
Responsibility Rests with Patrick
by Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts
and Scott Harshbarger, senior counsel at Proskauer, was the Massachusetts Attorney General from 1991 to 1999

We question why the Legislature has refused to calculate the inherent costs that accompany legalizing expanded predatory gambling. These are major fiscal and public policy decisions that have not been vetted with a balanced, independent review. It is unfortunate that proponents have hidden behind the cry for desperately needed jobs and revenues as their justification for these mistaken and costly ventures without ensuring that essential public protections are in place, without up-to-date, objective, hard economic and job data, and without recognizing the real costs, the inflated promises, and the impact of the gambling industry's political influences on Beacon Hill. Citizens have seen their voices muted by the drumbeat of special interests and the lobbyist proliferation in the State House since Gov. Deval Patrick announced his support for casinos three years ago.

USS-Mass Sends Letter urging the Governor to make good on his call for an independent cost analysis of casino gambling or veto whatever bill emerges from the Conference Committee.
July 8, 2010
However, as the Governor to explicitly propose opening the door to expanded gambling, we believe you have a special responsibility to ensure that decisions are made in the light of the collective national experience, the best legal and regulatory practices, and the best independently gathered information. That process should undeniably include all the costs and consequences, predictable and unintended but inevitable, that the people of the Commonwealth would incur.

USS-Mass President Kathleen Norbut Hold Press Conference after USS-Mass Meeting with Senate Casino "Guru" Stanley Rosenberg
Boston Herald, June 22, 2010

Senate wants 3 casino sites: Licenses to be awarded by state gambling panel
Worcester Telegram
June 19, 2010

Kathleen C. Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, which opposes the casino and slots legislation, called the bill "wrong-headed legislation" that will harm families and children and lead to increased corruption, lost small businesses and vast new costs to taxpayers.

"We hope senators will see through this 185-page rush to bail out the gambling industry, ask the tough, still-unanswered questions and reject this proposal," she said.

WMass casino proposed
The Republican
June 19, 2010

Norbut said the Innovation Group, a consultant for the gaming, leisure and hospitality industries, has strong ties to casino companies, having done work for numerous gambling companies.

"It's a total benefit study," Norbut said. "It's not an independent study."

Norbut also criticized the Senate bill because it seeks an exemption for casinos from the state's 2004 law that bans smoking in restaurants, bars and other workplaces. Under the Senate bill, casinos could designate 25 percent of gaming space for smokers in order to compete with casinos in other states that do allow smoking in certain areas.

"Greed does strange things to people," Norbut said. "This study and this bill is an example of that."

Mashpee tribe loses ground in latest casino bill
Cape Cod Times
June 19, 2010

Gambling opponents lashed out at the legislation yesterday saying it fails to answer questions they've raised about hidden costs, including what it costs to treat those who become addicted.

"It makes it impossible for citizen participation," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, a spokeswoman for United to Stop Slots. "They release this on the Friday of Father's Day weekend. The process is so compressed. I've never seen a rushed piece of legislation that's been prudent."

Mass. Senate eyes gambling jackpot in casino bill
Business Week
June 18, 2010

Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, faulted the Senate for releasing both the bill and the economic study on a Friday afternoon. She said the study was simply intended to justify the push for casinos.

"To prop up their rushed process, Senate leadership released a benefits-only study," she said in a written statement. "This study omits, among other things, the significant costs to regions around casinos, the expanded bureaucracy needed to regulate casinos, law enforcement, courts, corrections and social services."

The bill creates new categories of crimes, including a state money laundering charge, and authorizes the State Police to create a casino gambling investigations unit.

Foes hit 'Rush' on casinos
Boston Herald
June 18, 2010

Casino opponents blasted the state Senate's rollout of a bill legalizing casinos and a study of the jobs and cash jackpot that expanded gambling would bring to the Bay State - saying today's filing leaves them little time to study the measure.

"Why are we rushing to a decision when other states have taken a measured look," asked Kathleen Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.

Senate leaders promote the benefits of casinos
Boston Globe
June 19, 2010

"It is not a credible report," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of the group United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts." This is a phony, propped-up report to justify the Senate leadership's mania for casinos."

Through the Lens: USS-Mass President Kathleen Norbut speaks with League of Women Voters
June 2010

Massachusetts casino bill has tribe option
Cape Cod Times
Apr 6, 2010

The bill, which the House is getting set to debate next week, includes a provision that would prohibit further expansion of casinos in the first 15 years with one exception - the state could enter into a compact with a federally recognized tribe.

So if the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe continues with its plans for an Indian casino in Southeastern Massachusetts, the state could eventually be home to three resort casinos or more.

"We're talking about the potential of four if the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag can clear certain hurdles," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, who leads the anti-casino group United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.

Casino bill won't get public airing:
DeLeo aims for vote this month despite outcry from opponents
Boston Globe
Apr 2, 2010

Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of the group United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, expressed outrage at the decision. "I almost can't find the words for that," she said. "It's not overstating it to say it's a misstep in democracy."

Mass. House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo proposes 2 casinos and 750 slot machines for racetracks
The Republican
April 1, 2010

Kathleen C. Norbut, of Monson, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, said legislators should not move forward without a public hearing on DeLeo's bill. She also repeated her call for an independent study of DeLeo's plan.

"It's a sad day for the commonwealth," Norbut said. "We're looking at proposals that have not been fully vetted."

Norbut and other group members are opposed to casinos, calling them "a predatory business." She said casinos pilfer money from local businesses, earn the great bulk of their profits from addicted gamblers, increase crime and bankruptcies and fail to solve state budget problems.

The Big Bet
Commonwealth Magazine
April 1, 2010

According to the speaker's calculations, Massachusetts could reap twice as much in gambling tax revenues as any other state in the country under his proposal. And the total spent on gambling in the state's two proposed casinos and four racinos would dwarf gambling expenditures in every state but Nevada, which hosts 266 casinos.

"The amount of wagering that needs to happen is just physically impossible," says Les Bernal of Lawrence, executive director of the national group Stop Predatory Gambling.

Bill to propose casinos, slots at racetracks
The Republican
April 1, 2010

Casinos get the lion's share of their profits from a minority of addicted gamblers, she said. Casinos just shift wealth from players and taxpayers to developers and operators, Norbut said.

"The elected officials who have been promoting this have not been sharing both sides with the public," she said.

Norbut said she is concerned that legislators will vote on the speaker's casino bill without first holding a public hearing. "We need time to be able to look at this," she said.


At State House, unions push for casinos while opponents call it 'sucker's tax'
Boston Globe
March 31, 2010

At their press conference, antigambling advocates called casinos a "sucker's tax." Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of the organization, said they would "shift wealth from players and losers and taxpayers to casino developers."

"Where is the voice for the jobs that will be lost?" she said.

The Rev. Jack Johnson, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, said casinos would kill small businesses and strain local communities with added police, regulatory and social costs.

"Slots will bring new costs to every citizen, even those who never set foot in a slot parlor or casino," Johnson said.

He argued that it is cruel and morally indefensible for casino proponents to dismiss compulsive gambling as "simply the cost of doing business."

Norbut said she was concerned that no one knows the details of the bill, and is worried that the bill might be sent directly to the House floor for a vote without any public hearing. That fast-tracking, she said, should concern all citizens, regardless of whether they support or oppose casinos.

For casino opponents, an unlikely ace in the hole
Small-town activist presses fight against industry

Boston Globe
March 20, 2010

Her desk is her kitchen table. She cajoles legislators on the phone while folding laundry. At night, she works in her pajamas.

Kathleen Conley Norbut, a fast-talking 49-year-old mother, former selectwoman, and mental health counselor from Monson, has become the improbable public face of the opposition to expanded gambling, as founder of the group United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.

From that perch, she is trying to stop a multibillion-dollar casino industry eager to break into Massachusetts, an army of well-paid lobbyists pushing the cause, and a growing number of lawmakers who believe gambling will bring much-needed jobs and economic development.

"If there's a David-and-Goliath story, this is it, because that industry is predatory," Norbut said in an interview. "They've got deep, deep pockets behind them. I'm small peanuts. I care about small businesses. I care about my communities."

Norbut is confident, though she knows what she is up against.

So far, it's no dice for DeLeo casino plan
Cape Cod Times
March 6, 2010

The speaker has found a new marketing twist by saying (his proposal) is for the benefit of the working class," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, a spokeswoman for the anti-gambling group United to Stop Slots. "It's most detrimental to the working class."

Norbut contends that expanded gambling will also hurt the state's lottery, which cities and towns depend upon for local aid. It will adversely affect restaurants and mom-and-pop businesses as well, she said.

"Jobs will be lost," she said. "Slots and casinos are monopolies and are harmful to regional economies, especially small business."

New life possible for Raynham dog track
Taunton Gazette
March 6, 2010

Kathleen Conley Norbut, head of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, has become the point person for the latest anti-casino movement. The former Monson selectman said 40 percent of the promised jobs from slot machine parlors are filled by former employees of businesses that were put out of business by the gambling halls.

"Only the developers and investors win," she said.

But with an election year underway and a state unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, Conley Norbut argues that slot machines and casinos are a tempting quick fix, one with negative long-term social and economic consequences.

"It's bad fiscal policy, it's bad public policy," she said.

Frank Dunphy, president of the Middleboro-based Casinofacts.com, believes the gambling talk in Boston will re-invigorate the anti-casino activism started by the proposed Middleboro casino. Considering the struggles of the Twin Rivers slot machine parlor in Lincoln, R.I., Dunphy thinks lawmaker will eventually drop the racinos proposal. "For lack of a better word, they are kind of seedy," he said. If two resort casinos are given approval, Dunphey predicts at least six other Indian tribes will be vying to open casinos in the state. "It would be wide open."

USS-Mass Coalition Members (and others) Sound Off on House Speaker's Proposal for Two Resort Casinos and Slots at all Four Racetracks
March 4th and 5th, 2010
From State House News Service: Laura Everett, associate director of the Mass. Council of Churches, said DeLeo's proposal would result in "blanketing the state with six new gambling locations."

Everett said DeLeo "acknowledged he wasn't sure how many jobs or how much revenue it would create." She said the state should commission an independent cost analysis. "We've got to make an adult decision based on real numbers," Everett told the News Service.
From WBUR Radio "Bringing casinos to Massachusetts is only going to hurt the very people they claim to try to help," said Shrewsbury's Kelly Marcimo, who is with the group, United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts.

She says people who are out of work or on the verge of losing their homes are only more vulnerable to the false promise of casino gambling.

"In order for the state to gain revenue, people have to lose money," Marcimo said.
From Commonwealth Magazine It seems more than a little ironic that expanded gambling is being trumpeted as part of the strategy to pull the state out of the economic ditch, since our troubles were caused by mainstream elements of our economy and financial institutions buying into the casino culture. "There's a reason why people have called our economic crisis 'casino capitalism,'" says Les Bernal, a former State House staffer who now heads Stop Predatory Gambling, a national advocacy group, "It was an economic program based on financial gimmicks and predatory practices, creating the lure of free money to Americans."
From The Boston Globe "I have no doubt there are some well-intentioned proponents looking to create jobs," Kathleen Conley Norbut, president and founder of the group, said in a statement. "But every objective measure, study, and experience says that casinos and slots will increase crime, addiction, and disproportionately drain money from the low-income and blue-collar workers that they allegedly want to help."

More from WBUR Radio Mike Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation says DeLeo is using today's economy for political expediency. After all, Widmer says, the economic benefit of gaming won't be realized for years.

"This is no trivial undertaking," Widmer said. "Is this really such a burning issue that we need to address it in 2010?"

Widmer says the state is facing huge budget and unemployment problems. And they dwarf the 8,000 or so new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in gaming revenue. Even if those benefits eventually do come, it might be too late for that blue collar worker waiting with his résumé on Speaker DeLeo's doorstep.

More From State House News Service:

PATRICK: RACETRACK SLOTS A DEAL-BREAKER 'AS OF NOW': Addressing reporters, Gov. Deval Patrick said slot machines at the state's four racetracks won't pack the job-creating punch of resort casinos, and he said that "as of now" the inclusion of slots in a plan to expand gambling in Massachusetts would be a deal-breaker. House Speaker Robert DeLeo unveiled a plan that would bring slots to racetracks -- including one in his district -- as well as provide for two destination resort casinos.

"I'm still opposed and I hope that people really run the numbers on these things," added Rep. Daniel Bosley, a North Adams Democrat opposed to expanded gambling. Noting slot machines account for the bulk of gambling facility revenues, Bosley said DeLeo's plan allows "at least six casinos really." He predicted investors would also look to launch Indian casinos in Massachusetts, further diluting the potential market and taxpayer benefits, if Beacon Hill moves to legalize casinos.

Kathleen Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots Massachuestts, said the bill is being crafted in secrecy and would "disproportionately drain money from the low income and blue collar worker that they allegedly want to help."

An outspoken gambling critic, Sen. Susan Tucker (D-Andover) said the speaker "wants to saturate slot parlors that will end up costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars down the road." Tucker said costs include building new infrastructure to support slot parlors, establishing a new bureaucracy to oversee gambling venues and treating addiction. In addition, she said, slot venues and casinos will divert funds from the state Lottery, and, as a result, from local aid to cities and towns.

"The irony is that so many jobs are lost when you bring in casino gambling," she said. "It pulls money out of the economy, just like a tax increase. It has a huge impact on existing business."

Attorney General Martha Coakley has said that any foray into expanded gambling could breed various types of organized crime, and she has called for stronger law enforcement authority to prevent money laundering, and the ability to use wire intercepts during state investigations.

From Bloggers

Dan Kennedy - Controlling the Casino Gambling Narrative
Ryans Take - Slots Stumble at the Gate
Gladys Kravitz - Trifecta

Former Monson selectman Kathleen Norbut on a mission to prevent spread of gambling in Mass.
The Republican
February 27, 2010

MONSON - She's known for her work to prevent domestic violence, as a former selectman, and now as the leader of a statewide group formed to prevent predatory gambling and slots in Massachusetts.

Kathleen C. Norbut, president of the nonprofit United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, is on a mission. Her position has thrust her into the spotlight as the casino issue once again is set to be debated by the state Legislature next month.

One item her group has been pushing for is an independent cost-benefit analysis of casino gaming, something House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, D-Winthrop, opposes because he has said it could delay a vote.

She said the operators of the casinos are the ones who gain.

"If we were not in a desperate time nobody would be looking at this. It's desperation that's fueling bad judgment," Norbut said.

EmmaLadd Shepherd, also of Monson, and co-president of Quaboag Valley Against Casinos, said she is pleased that Norbut is the spokesperson for the anti-casino movement.

"I think it is fabulous that someone from this little town in Western Massachusetts has come to prominence around the whole state and that she is recognized in Boston, since Western Massachusetts is not exactly recognized most of the time," Shepherd said.

Kathleen C. Norbut speaks out against casinos

United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts presents a "Math Book for Beacon Hill"
Massachusetts State House
February, 25 2010

BOSTON - The leader of an anti-casino group told state legislators on Thursday that casinos will drain money from the state, ruin local businesses and create more gambling addicts.

Speaking at an event to help mobilize opposition ahead of a possible upcoming vote on expanded gaming, Kathleen C. Norbut of Monson, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, told about 50 people at the Statehouse that gambling money will only aid developers, investors and casino owners.

"When casinos win, communities lose," said Norbut, a former Monson selectman who lives about 10 miles from a proposed casino in Palmer. Rep. Denise Provost, D-Somerville, said she hosted the event partly to organize critics of casinos.

Norbut, in a Powerpoint report, said that for every $1 generated by casinos, it costs taxpayers $3 to deal with increased crime, bankruptcies and other negative effects.

She said many new jobs simply replace jobs that are destroyed when restaurants and other businesses lose customers to casinos. She cited a study that found 70 percent of independent restaurants closed in Atlantic City, N.J. within the first year casinos opened in that city.

She compared casinos to tobacco companies, saying both need to attract new addicts to bring in new revenue.

Get the "Math Book for Beacon Hill"

United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts Holds Press Conference to Announce a "Math Book for Beacon Hill"
Massachusetts State House
February, 9 2010

USS-Mass holds an informational press conference to unveil a "Math Book for Beacon Hill" which begins to reveal how predatory gambling proposals in Massachusetts will hurt local aid to towns and cities and divert millions in discretionary income from the state and its taxpayers. Speakers included Kathleen Norbut of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling, and Prof. Robert Goodman, author of The Luck Game.

The Math Book will also demonstrate how predatory casinos and slot machines will push more people deeper into personal debt, burdening social service networks and taxpayers.

A more in-depth "Math Course", along with a more extensive version of the "Math Book", will be held for legislators on February 25th.

"What we really need to be looking at is the fact that the industry is a something-for-nothing scheme," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, of the group United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts. "Essentially, it takes monies, discretionary income and sometimes money that people really don't have to play, and funnels it out of the state to the investors and developers."

"When people are spending their money, throwing it into a casino or slot machine it goes out of state," said USS Mass President Kathleen Conley Norbut. "They don't have the money to buy the traditional services and goods in our local economy. Those are the things that have really been ignored."

"Instead of funding cities and towns, new gambling ventures generate money for out-of-state developers and the Lottery would lose more than 10 percent of its revenue," USS-Mass said. Mark Cavanagh (Executive Director, of the Massachusetts State Lottery)said he has seen a range of projected net losses and called a 10 percent figure "drastic."

Uniting against casinos: Towns join forces to address impact
Boston Globe
January 24, 2010

Kathleen Conley Norbut, a founding member of the task force and president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, fielded a question on education costs. She said the task force learned from the Connecticut experience, where surrounding towns had to expand English language programs in their schools.

Another important lesson, she said, is that towns have to understand the approval process just as the casino developers do. State environmental regulations, for example, could be triggered when no one expects it.

"We also found that the process is not necessarily a smooth decision-making process," said Norbut.

Big Bets On Long Shot Casino developers stake their claims in Central Mass.
Worcester Business Journal
January 4, 2010

Kathleen Conley Norbut is the president of United to Stop Slots, a Massachusetts group studying the impact casinos could have on local communities.

She's put together a list of 27 factors that should be considered before gaming is allowed. The environment, traffic and water infrastructure systems will not be the only things impacted, according to that list. The schools will need to be updated for new children of workers that will be in the area, and lottery money, which is given back to cities and towns in unrestricted aid, will decline, she argues.

Not to mention what she calls the "human impact" of gambling addiction.

"What we're really asking is for (legislators) to do their due diligence and make an impartial, informed decision on the costs and the benefits, and weigh those against the human impacts," she said.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo sees no need for new analysis on benefits of casino gambling
December 14, 2009

Kathleen C. Norbut of Monson, president of United to Stop Slots, a coalition of groups and individuals opposed to casinos, said she doubted that casino supporters have the votes.

"It's a complex issue and legislators want due diligence," Norbut said. "They want to make an informed decision."

Norbut's group is pushing for a new analysis on the costs and benefits of casinos because of the effects of the recession on the casino industry. For example, Norbut has said the recession is greatly reducing the number of gamblers leaving the state to bet at two casinos in Connecticut.

Last year, the Patrick administration financed $189,000 study that backed the governor's contentions that three casino resorts in Massachusetts would improve the state's economy and create 13,000 permanent jobs and 9,000 construction jobs.

In his letter last week, Patrick said there may be merit in updating forecasts of the effects of casinos on people and the economy.

The state House of Representatives last year voted 108-46 to defeat Patrick's bill for three casino resorts.

Norbut released a prepared statement from A. Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, who said that an independent cost-benefit analysis of casinos is vital to ensure public safety in the state.

She also released letters from Brewer to the co-chairs of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, a legislative committee that oversees casino bills.

In his Dec. 1 letters to Sen. Karen E. Spilka, D-Ashland. and Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, D-Haverhill, Brewer, the vice chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said his "first priority" is an independent cost-benefit analysis of expanded gambling. Brewer said he would strongly encourage the study.

Casino opponents rally at Faneuil Hall
The Lowell Sun
December 11, 2009

BOSTON -- Now a former candidate for U.S. Senate, Alan Khazei last night warned about the threat casinos pose to the rich character and history of Massachusetts.

His comments came at a "Stop Slots in Massachusetts" symposium last night at Faneuil Hall in Boston featuring politicians such as former Gov. Michael Dukakis and leaders of the anti-casino movement.



Patrick wants new cost-benefit analysis on gambling
The Worcester Telegram
December 11, 2009

Gov. Deval L. Patrick is pressing lawmakers to request a new, independent analysis of the costs and benefits of increased gambling, even as lawmakers hammer out the details of a casino bill that could be debated as early as next month.

Patrick made his comments when asked Thursday about an hourlong meeting he had this week inside his office with casino opponents, who are pushing for the new study.

"I think the points that were made when we met about refreshing the analysis of both the economic cost-benefit and also the human impact are very well taken," Patrick told reporters. "I have commended that idea forward to the Speaker and the Senate President."

Read Governor Patrick's letter to the Senate President Therese Murray, and Speaker of the House Robert Deleo, commending for their consideration the USS-Mass proposal for a "fresh, independent and transparent analysis of the costs and benefits of expanded gambling."

Senatorial Candidates Respond to USS-Mass Questionaire
November 18, 2009

Two candidates for Ted Kennedy's senate seat, Alan Khazei (D) and Congressman Mike Capuano (D), have answered and returned a questionnaire submitted to all six Democratic and Republican candidates on October 11, 2009. The four questions were:

  • 1. What is your opinion of the SCOTUS decision (Carcieri- February 2009) relative to lands into trust?.
  • 2. How would you vote on the proposals for a "Carcieri fix"? Please explain.
  • 3. What is your opinion of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission Report (1999) and what recommendations should be enacted at this time?
  • 4. Do you support an independent cost-benefit analysis before legalizing any expansion of predatory gambling/slots in the Commonwealth?
Alan Khazei Response
Congressman Capuano Response

USS-Mass would like to thank the two candidates who took the time to answer our questionnaire and share their opinions with Massachusetts voters - even as their fellow candidates continue to actively avoid taking an official position on this extremely important issue facing all the people of the Commonwealth.

Gambling Study Urged
The Sun Chronicle
November 12, 2009

State and local governments would have to pay to address the problems while building infrastructure, handling added traffic and paying for more police protection, (Kathleen Norbut - President of USS-Mass.org) said. The costs would greatly diminish, if not outweigh, the added revenue, she said.

Norbut said her group is trying to encourage the governor and legislators to support an independent study of the issue. "If they believe their proposals are so great, let's have an independent cost analysis," she said.

She said supporters of expanded gambling should want the study to prove their predictions of a windfall for the state are true.

Massachusetts Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies hears testimony regarding expanded gambling
Massachusetts Statehouse
October 29, 2009

USS-Mass Directors, Legislators, doctors, professors, psychologistst, selectmen, task force members, teachers, religious organizations, citizen activists and others voice their concerns regarding expanded gambling.

Voice of casino opposition has evolved, shifted
South Coast Today
October 26, 2009

(Kathleen Norbut - President of USS-Mass.org) hopes to see the state fully investigate the cost of legalized gambling. "There needs to be an independent cost-benefit analysis done," she said. "They need to take a look at the comprehensive package. That's the very least legislators are responsible to their constituents to do."

Mass. casino foes say they're not giving up fight
Boston Herald
October 25, 2009

Kathleen Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, said despite growing momentum, expanded gambling is still a bad bet.

Norbut and other opponents hope to drive home their point at a public hearing Thursday at the Statehouse, the first major casino hearing of the session.

Critics hit 'objective' researcher for pro-gambling tilt
Boston Herald
October 20, 2009

"It's about time the people of Massachusetts know where the (gambling) proponents are getting their numbers" on jobs and tax revenue," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, a critic of casino gambling and a member of the Western Massachusetts Casino Task Force.

Milford will see plan for casino
Boston Globe
October 17, 2009

Anticasino activist Kathleen Conley Norbut said her message to Milford is "beware."

She is the president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, which she described as a statewide, nonpartisan coalition.

Norbut said a large casino does not provide good jobs for local residents, because such an operation attracts low-wage earners from elsewhere.

Problem gamblers and addicted gamblers are very costly to taxpayers, who have to absorb their social, legal, and medical expenses, she said.

"What is a particular concern is this is a short-term fix," said Norbut, a former selectman in Monson. "It will be offset by long-term negative economic impacts to municipalities and to taxpayers."

Why the Debate About Expanding Legalized Gambling is a Big Deal
Somerville Voices
October 14, 2009
by Fred Berman of USS-Mass.org

You may have already received email from Sen. Pat Jehlen or another source about a forum that Sen. Jehlen is hosting tomorrow night (Thurs. Oct 15 from 7-9pm at Century Bank, 400 Mystic Avenue in Medford) at which State Sen. Sue Tucker, a longtime opponent of expanding legalized gambling, and State Rep Kathi-Anne Reinstein, a longtime advocate for expanded gambling, will debate the merits of proposals to legalize the slots and license casinos in Mass.

Proponents certainly don't mention the "increased costs for taxpayers, insurers, health providers, and the Commonwealth due to acute medical care, mental health services, substance abuse services, unemployment insurance, child protective services, domestic abuse services, public safety, and correctional system costs" that result from behaviors associated with compulsive gambling. [Mass. Public Health Association, 2006 letter opposing licensing slot machines]"

Keeping a poker face on gambling
Boston Globe
October 11, 2009

"KA-CHING" IS on hold in Massachusetts.

A vote on gambling legislation - originally expected before the end of 2009 - is unlikely to take place until 2010. The desire to get it right is the official reason for the delay.

But Kathleen Conley Norbut, a Monson Democrat who heads a new statewide coalition that opposes expanded gambling, offers another explanation. "I don't believe they have the votes," said Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts. "It's not a done deal."

From Statehouse News
Oct. 9, 2009

Casino opponents are speaking out against Senate President Therese Murray's assertion that casinos are "inevitable," saying proponents are trying to oversimplify and paint the introduction of expanded gambling as foregone. "It's all over the map," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, a casino opponent who held meetings Thursday with state officials. "This inevitability is the proponents' message, and it's a clever marketing ploy, but it's not based in fact." Norbut, a Monson resident who leads United to Stop Slots in Mass., said she met with first assistant Attorney General David Friedman and chiefs of staff to Sens. James Eldridge and Susan Tucker, discussing the downsides of casinos and what she called a need for a cost-benefit analysis. "[Murray] has yet to speak about the mitigation costs, the cost of the gaming regulatory commission, the cost for infrastructure," Norbut said. "The costs are extraordinary, and our research shows that there is ...in fact a long-term economic problem. "Asked whether she believed casinos were likely to pass next year, Norbut replied, "I think it's very complex, and I don't think they have it together." Murray made her claim Wednesday in a WBUR interview broadcast Thursday.

USS-Mass. Cost/Benefit Letter to Legislators
Disseminated September 18, 2009

EXCERPT: 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.

DeLeo throws support behind resort casinos
Associated Press
September 18, 2009

"Kathleen Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, which opposes expanding gambling, called it "bizarre" that DeLeo would call for casinos in the state when gambling facilities in other states are struggling.

"He's running after a train that left the station 10 years ago, and has crashed," she said. Casinos bring many negative impacts as well as benefits, she said.

Both Sides of Casino Debate Place Bet on Support
Daily News Tribune
September 11, 2009

United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts" border="0" align="left" hspace="10" vspace="10"/>Tom Larkin, chairman of the Third Middlesex Area Democrats, who is also a psychologist who deals with people in the throes of gambling addiction, spoke against expanding gambling.

Larkin said estimates of how much revenue new casinos would bring to Massachusetts are far from exact and that expanded gambling could actually "cannibalize" other aspects of the economy.

"Those are all speculations," Larkin said. "They have done no independent cost-benefit analysis."

Citing figures from other states that have casinos, Larkin said expanded gambling could bring an increase in crime, including instances of domestic violence and child abuse.

Bringing in new casinos could also increase the number of pathological gamblers, Larkin said.

"It's going after and exploiting the most vulnerable people in our society," Larkin said.

New Gaming Company Enters Fray
Worcester Business Journal
August 31, 2009

"To use gambling income to pay for services like public education, law enforcement and infrastructure such as roads and bridges is cynical at best and a warped public policy at its worst," said Kathleen Conley Norbut, a spokesman for United to Stop Slots in Mass. and resident of Monson. Monson borders Palmer and is close to Warren, two communities that are potential casino locations.

"This is a regressive tax policy to solve a temporary economic situation," Conley said, referring to the current recession. If politicians want to help communities, they should spend more resources on attracting more high-quality manufacturing jobs instead of looking to gambling, she added.

Casino Odds Calculated
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
August 28, 2009

"As we approach the fall, and the likelihood of gaming legislation in the next session, there seems to be some behind-closed-doors maneuvering by the legislative leadership, including the attorney general's economic crime bill that would provide a more palatable framework on which to craft expanded gaming," Ms. Norbut said.

"While the leadership may be promoting expanded gaming in some form, USSMass believes there are still many legislators who are quite skeptical of any benefits, especially in light of the economic downturn," she said.

Ms. Norbut cited recent published reports that the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation was seeking to restructure $1.45 billion in Foxwoods Resort Casino debt in the wake of declining revenue.

"The build out of the resort casino industry has already reached its pinnacle and we're the downside of casino proliferation. This is a unique industry that has a multitude of negative impacts that no other industry brings. There is a reason why casino gaming has not been legal in the commonwealth," she said.

Ms. Norbut said USSMass will call on the Legislature to establish a blue-ribbon commission to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of slot parlors and casinos.

"It's unrealistic to expect licenses and fees from casinos in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Revenues have dwindled. Legislative due diligence is the order of the day, and we believe a blue-ribbon commission can adequately achieve the same result without spending another dime on a casino consultant," she said.

"It's an insult that on the heals of ethics reform legislation there have been so many behind-the-scenes discussions of an issue that could forever change the character of the commonwealth," Ms. Norbut said.

She said there are two dozen core members of USSMass and partnerships with many statewide organizations.

Gaming Options Gather Steam
The Boston Globe
August 24, 2009

"I don't think the average person, or even the average legislator, has a full grasp of the magnitude of what needs to be considered," added Kathleen Conley Norbut, a resident of Monson and a member of the group United to Stop Slots in Mass.