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"People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they lose customer dollars to the casinos."
- Donald Trump, casino owner
"The Jackpot State", The Miami-Herald, March 27, 1994

Gambling patrons seldom spend money at nearby local businesses.
Experience in communities across the country has demonstrated that patrons do not spend their money at businesses outside gambling establishments. These buildings are all-inclusive, have no windows or clocks, and provide for the customer's every need including food, beverages and ATM machines. Casinos maximize profit using subsidized rooms, meals and alcohol to hold patrons on site until they have lost as much money as possible. Often, they serve free alcohol - a clear competitive advantage over locally owned businesses.

When discretionary income is spent on gambling, local businesses suffer.
Consumers have less money to spend on clothing, electronics, furniture, automobiles, or any other locally sold product. A study on the costs and benefits of casinos found that for every $1000 in increased casino revenue, businesses up to 30 miles away lost $243. 9

Casinos will hurt local restaurants, hotels and entertainment businesses.
Money that would otherwise be spent at locally-owned small businesses will instead be dumped down predatory slot machines owned by out-of-state corporations. Massachusetts dollars are shipped far away to wealthy owners and investors, and little of that money is being reinvested in the local community.

Casinos and slots won't help locally-owned tourism businesses.
Casinos will divert tourists and residents away from local historic, cultural, and natural attractions from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, hurting businesses that rely on those visitors. To the extent that people do travel to Massachusetts for a resort-style casino, they'll stay at a casino hotel, eat at casino restaurants, and go to casino-sponsored entertainment events. Casinos drain money from the local economy.

Expanding gambling is not an effective economic development strategy.
It drains money from local economies, hurting local businesses. As the Wall Street Journal notes, "a growing body of research and experience suggests the odds are not stacked in the state's favor"12 when it comes to economic development. There are better strategies for creating jobs and promoting economic growth in the Commonwealth that don't come with the significant downsides that casinos bring.

Job growth in the casino industry will lead to job cuts elsewhere.
As the Boston Business Journal notes, the claim that casinos will create 20,000 new jobs "is bogus because the diversion of billions of dollars into one sector is destined to cause job losses in other sectors".10

Expanded gambling hurts worker productivity.
Local businesses can anticipate increased personnel costs due to increased job absenteeism and declining productivity of workers.11

All that "lost revenue to other states?" It's a myth.It's simply untrue that Massachusetts is losing billions of dollars to Connecticut. It's estimated that Massachusetts residents contributed approximately $93 million to the Connecticut treasury in CY 2009 as a result of gambling.33 This is close to amount as we would lose with a 10% hit to the lottery.34

"The prosecutor in Ohio and Dearborn County also warns that the economic development that was promised with the casinos has never really happened and that very little money is generated outside of the casino. That seems to be a similar issue with prosecutors in other communities as well."

--Indiana State Prosecutor Karen Richards
In a letter to the Mayor of Fort Wayne
describing her conversations with prosecutors in casino communities

Patrons do not leave casinos to visit nearby visitor amenities. Casinos maximize profit using subsidized rooms, meals and alcohol to hold patrons on site until they have lost as much money as possible.

Mayor of Ledyard: "I've become very cynical ..."
By John Swinconeck
York County Coast Star

LEDYARD, Conn. - "I've become very cynical about this operation over the past 11 years," said Mayor Wesley Johnson of Ledyard, Conn.

Ledyard borders the Pequot reservation that's home to the world's biggest casino, Foxwoods Resort.

"There has been no economic development spin-off from the casino. Businesses do not come here," Johnson said. "Tourists come mainly to gamble. Gamblers have one thing in mind: get to the casino, win or lose their money, get in their cars, and go home."

"You can pretty much get whatever you want at a casino," he said.

On The Record In Opposition To Casinos

"Here at the Massachusetts Restaurant Association we are constantly evaluating our legislative positions according to what would have the biggest impact on your business. That is why you are going to hear quite a bit from us on the topic of casinos this year. Our opposition is not based on a theoretical principle. It's a tangible threat; resort-style casinos would hurt sales, regardless of location."

Casinos don't sleep...

...you can expect a similar situation to Fenway Park, 35,000 - 50,000 people twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days per year. Increased traffic will impact your Fire, Ambulance and Police Services, not only will the major roads be impacted but the secondary roads, because of the diversion of the local people, casino patrons, and the casino staff. Even your Highway Department will have additional work with more wear and tear on your road infrastructure.

The local money will be diverted from the normal business purchases to the casino for everything from restaurants, refrigerators, automobiles, mortgages, and even college educations.

Gambling problems will affect the way local and municipal businesses operate. Your quality of life and the way of life that you have today will change completely. Your gas stations and donut shops will flourish...

--Nicholas Mullane
First selectman of the town of North Stonington, Connecticut
before, during and after the building of Foxwoods Casino.
(North Stonington is the town next door to Ledyard, host community to Foxwoods.)

Gambling and Tourism
The gambling industry holds out the promise of tourism (and an influx of tourist dollars) wherever it attempts to expand. No new gambling locale, however, has come close to imitating the Las Vegas model, in which an estimated 85 percent of profits come from out-of-state gamblers. Most gambling enterprises make their profits from the pockets of the local citizenry, thus merely transferring wealth from the community to large casino companies, many of which are located out of state.

According to gambling researcher William Thompson, a professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, "(Casinos) have a negative impact on the community unless 50 percent of the gamblers come from out of state."

CLICK HERE to see the types of seedy "convenience" casinos that are lobbying to bring racinos to our neighbors in New Hampshire.

Establishments like this in Massachusetts' would most certainly sully our valuable brand as (among other things) a recognized home to history, a storied coastline and islands, breathtaking year-round beauty, and world class art, cultural, medical and educational institutions.

Hear what local boy Jimmy Tingle has to say about our brand - and why we should do everything to hold on to it...

Gambling and the Arts

Arts advocates are convinced that gambling, whether in the form of "resort-style" casinos or race-track slot parlors, will cut directly into the money that households spend on the arts. Their fear is that a green light for gambling will be the death knell for performing-arts centers and organizations, both large and small, which are already suffering financially.

One reason for the fears of theater owners in particular is that state casinos might include performance arenas, which in their opinion will provide unfair competition - unfair because, for the casinos, entertainment is a loss leader to bring people onto the premises to gamble. Casinos can thus offer more money to performers, and charge less to patrons, than standalone performance centers can.

For a good idea of what kind of model arts organizations here in Massachusetts will be up against, one need look only as far south as Connecticut, where the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos have become entertainment meccas, each with several theaters presenting acts ranging from stand-up comics, such as Jerry Seinfeld, to musicians, such as Jay-Z, who plays Mohegan Sun this Saturday.

The bottom line, say arts advocates, is that existing venues will be affected, as will the vibrant scene they provide for cities and towns from the Berkshires to Cape Cod.

The Cultural Caucus's big gamble
Boston Phoenix, March 3, 2010

Excerpt: Resort casinos will bring down the curtain on performing arts centers

It is ironic that the case being made for resort casinos in Massachusetts is based on the economic benefit they will purportedly create, when so much evidence points to exactly the opposite effect. How can we be expected to believe that a resort casino will bring one dollar of economic activity to the surrounding area, when that casino's business model is built around keeping people from leaving the building? No windows, no clocks - nothing to remind gamblers that there's anywhere they might want to be other than at blackjack tables or slot machines. "Resort" casinos are designed to be just that - everything under one roof. A theatre featuring a headline performer to bring people in (at cheap ticket prices, subsidized by gambling dollars), restaurants, shopping and more.

They will bring in dollars - Massachusetts dollars - that will then go to out-of-state casino owners. Those are dollars that won't be spent at Massachusetts restaurants, hotels and theatres.

The entertainment venue in a resort casino will create jobs, but those same jobs will be lost when The Hanover Theatre and other performing arts centers close their doors. Restaurants in a resort casino will create jobs, but those same jobs will be lost when independent restaurants in the surrounding communities close.

So the result is no net impact from a resort casino? Wrong - it's worse than that. The 300,000 people who have visited The Hanover Theatre in the past two years have dined at nearby restaurants, parked in city garages, shopped nearby. When those 300,000 people visit the theatre in a resort casino, they'll spend those ancillary dollars at the casino's restaurants, stores and slot machines; and those dollars will leave Massachusetts.

There are a lot of people making noise about casino gambling in Massachusetts, on all sides of the issue, so rather than take anyone's word for it, I would encourage you to do your own research. Look at New London, Connecticut, where more than thirty restaurants closed following the opening of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. When a casino opened in Cripple Creek, Colorado, a once-thriving downtown went from 66 restaurants to less than 10. Look at performing arts centers in other cities near resort casinos - in less than an hour on the phone I spoke to managers of theatres in Reading, Pennsylvania; Fresno, California and Ames, Iowa that have been severely hurt by casino performance venues.

Iowa is a good case study, in fact - a state of just 3 million people, it has twenty casinos. Despite promises that gambling profits would focus on education, the state still ranks near the bottom in public funding for schools. Iowa wages are well below the national average; prisons are overcrowded; public funding for the arts is among the lowest in the nation; and the state is currently funding a budget crisis of greater magnitude than ours in Massachusetts.

Troy Siebels
Executive Director, The Hanover Theatre
Worcester, Massachusetts
Posted on Blue Mass Group, March 3, 2010

...Read More

Gambling with Local Business

The number of independent restaurants in Atlantic City dropped from 48 the year casinos opened to 16 in 1997.5 Within just four years of the casinos' arrival, one-third of the city's retail businesses had closed.

A University of South Dakota study showed that retail and service businesses in South Dakota suffered a net loss of approximately $60 million in anticipated sales in the year following the introduction of gambling.

In a survey of 900 Minnesota restaurant owners, 38 percent said they had lost business due to gambling; only 10 percent reported an increase in business due to the existence of casinos.

According to a study commissioned by New York's Gov. Pataki, 1,208 more jobs will be lost, rather than gained with gambling expansion. These jobs will be lost because western New Yorkers will most likely change their spending habits with the onslaught of stand-alone casinos.

More than half of business owners in Illinois riverboat casino towns reported either a negative effect or no effect on their businesses from the presence of casinos. Only 3 percent of respondents said their businesses had been "helped a lot" by the casinos.

More than 70 percent of businesses in Natchez, Mississippi, reported declining sales within a few months of the opening of that city's first riverboat.

Iowa State University researchers surveyed business owners in Clinton, Iowa, to determine how they had been affected by the presence of a riverboat casino. Twelve percent indicated business had increased, while 29 percent reported a decrease. Sixty percent said they had witnessed no change.

A survey of Illinois riverboat gamblers conducted in 1995 found that 85 percent lived within 50 miles of the floating casino at which they were gambling.

A study by Iowa State University reported that 94 percent of gamblers at the Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino in Des Moines came from within the state; nearly two-thirds came from the county in which the racetrack is located.

A survey of gamblers inside a Kansas City, Missouri, casino found that 88 percent lived within 45 minutes of the casino. Another survey of Kansas City casinos, which are located on or near the Missouri River across from the Kansas border, found that 94 percent of cars in the casino parking lots bore either Missouri or Kansas license plates.

At the short-lived New Orleans land-based casino, local residents made up 60 percent of the clientele.

The 1995 United States Survey of Gaming and Gambling gives further evidence that casinos are primarily a local draw. The survey found that among respondents with a casino in or near their community, 40 percent gambled in the past year, compared to only 17 percent of those who lived at least 100 miles from a casino. Further, among casino gamblers, 42 percent of those with a casino in or near their community gambled at least every three months, compared with only 17 percent of casino gamblers living 100 miles away from a casino.