Dismantling the case for casinos

April 3, 2012 9:01 am

One of the main reasons lawmakers use to support gambling is competition from other states. The governors in Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts all said that legalizing casinos would keep residents from going out of state to gamble.

To a certain extent that may be true. But the answer to gambling is not more gambling. A casino closer to home just means folks gamble more often and new problem gamblers are created. The upshot is more wealth stripped from residents.

New Hampshire’s governor and lawmakers just rejected an effort to legalize casinos there. (See earlier post here.)Casino supporters said the state needed to act now that Massachusetts has legalized casinos. But an editorial in a New Hampshire newspaper explains why that is a bogus argument. Here’s a portion of this compelling editorial in the Seacoast newspaper that cuts through the rhetoric:

“The last thing in the world New Hampshire should ever do is try to copy the corrupt, bloated and thoroughly dysfunctional government of Massachusetts, where the last three House speakers have been convicted of federal felonies, and patronage, nepotism and no-show jobs are common.

“The reason Massachusetts needs gambling is that it is addicted to spending. When the going got tough during the Great Recession, instead of belt-tightening, as we did here in New Hampshire, Massachusetts decided to feed its spending habit by prostituting itself to organized gambling operators.

“Massachusetts will soon find, as every other state that has allowed gambling out of desperation has found, this sort of political prostitution does not create a sustainable revenue stream. As the initial flow of gambling dollars slows, the gambling interests will seek more lenient laws and additional locations. Once they have more lenient laws, they’ll begin to choke off the amount of money going to the state and the state will need to take what it can get to feed its addiction.”

 Well said.