The gambling arms race

August 11, 2011 5:40 pm

New York Gov. Cuomo’s comments in support of gambling, ramped up pressure on lawmakers in Massachusetts to move forward with a proposed bill to expand gambling there. States are desperate for tax revenue and many are looking to gambling as a quick and easy way to raise money.

Gambling supporters use the same tired arguments: we need the money and other states are doing it. But Tom Larkin, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, makes the smart case against this is a failed logic. “The gambling industry exploits these budgetary problems,” he said.

Larkin points out how state lawmakers ignore the policy implications of more gambling. “The more people that lose money, the worse off the economy is,” he said. “The worst thing you can do is say: ‘Look we have an economic problem, let’s have more people lose more money.’ ”

Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, said more and more lawmakers are getting hooked on “the culture of dependence and greed” that casinos create, which adds pressure to add even more gambling. “It is time for all of our elected officials to do their homework, to update outdated cost-benefit analyses and have a full, transparent debate about the pros and cons of welcoming this industry to Massachusetts,” Harshbarger said.

Well said.

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One thought on “The gambling arms race

  1. The Vote Buying Trial in Alabama may pale in comparison to the future eruptions in Massachusetts when/if investigators fulfill their responsibilities. Beacon Hill [the location of the State House] prides itself on arrogance, corruption, patronage, nepotism and back room deals. As scandal after scandal unfolds around them and public cynicism grows, the tone deaf leadership focus remains on Slot Barns, ignoring facts. Pity!

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