Monday, September 17, 2007

Casino Deval

“Together we can” has become Casino Deval. "Let's reach for that" has become grasping for slot machines and roulette wheels.

The Boston Globe begins its lead editorial today this way:

GOVERNOR PATRICK knows slot machines and table games are not the stuff of human ideals that he talked about in his campaign.

To say the very least. Neither is Patrick’s decision any form of creative political leadership. Rather, it shares the faulty logic that moves compulsive gamblers to their weekly and monthly trips to the casinos – ignorance of the laws of probability.

However Governor Patrick (like the Globe editorial board) has no problem repudiating his ideals in order to support what is apparently his highest value – an expanded yet unreformed Massachusetts public sector.

"This is the last true revenue source, absent taxes," said Senator Michael W. Morrissey, a Democrat from Quincy. "We've done some creative things, but this is really the last frontier of revenues."

Better journalists would have asked Senator Morrissey for a few examples of the legislature’s creativity in controlling public spending.

Sunday’s Globe has a story by Frank Phillips with some details of the Governor’s plan as well as this fine “but paragraph

In making his decision to endorse casino resorts, Patrick will be going against many of his close political allies and a good chunk of his Democratic base, including liberals who see gambling as a regressive tax that takes money from those in the lower income brackets to ease the financial burdens of the more affluent. Those critics, including House leaders, say the financial gains are illusory. They say expanded gambling would create social problems and will hook state political leaders and Beacon Hill budget writers on gambling revenues, while providing few long-term economic benefits. They also say that expanding gambling with Las Vegas-like resorts will change the historic and cultural character of Massachusetts forever.

But a recent study said that there is $1.5 billion in annual unmet market demand for gambling. A line of pent-up casino proposals bears out the assertion that market forces favor gambling.

Market forces favor gambling, folks. This is merely the market responding to an unmet need!

There is also unmet market demand for businesses trading in heroin, stolen cars, cocaine, marijuana, and underage girls. However our law forbids such businesses because we judge that their social costs outweigh their benefits.

That is the central question concerning casino gambling. Clearly the additional state revenue will be contributed primarily by the poorest and least educated citizens. How illiberal must an idea be before liberals in Massachusetts reject it?

11 comments:

George W. Potts said...

Apparently, the checks have cleared.

Chris said...

One of the major issues is that the sites for the casinos are in locations that no one really wants to visit. It's why Foxwoods, with its bucolic setting, absolutely trumps (pun intended) the ghetto that is Atlantic City. Putting up casinos in Massachusetts is the very essence of a misguided 'build-it-and-they-will-come' mentality. I subscribe that Massachusetts casinos will fare about as well (which is to say, poorly) as Atlantic City. If Deville thinks people will just abandon Foxwoods for his own brand of same, he's a Deluded Deville.

Teresa said...

As George so aptly states - "Apparently, the checks have cleared."

Couldn't have said it any better. Heh.

Miss Kelly said...

Good job, Harry. Apalling development in the Middleboro casino story. We don't have to worry about A casino in Massachusetts, we have to worry about FOUR casinos. Those Puritans were on to something when they banned gambling. Maybe we should respect our roots a little more.

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flymorgue2 said...

Harry, you drive this blog off the rails by equating casinos - where you can see a show, have dinner, play some 21, spin the roulette wheel and do some dancing - with molesting underage girls, no less.

Bill said...

Indeed. But aside from the girls those other things should be legal.

Bill said...

I missed the stolen cars in that list.

Harry said...

Flymorgue,

Did you stop reading at those words? The key point followed:

However our law forbids such businesses because we judge that their social costs outweigh their benefits.

That is the central question concerning casino gambling. Clearly the additional state revenue will be contributed primarily by the poorest and least educated citizens.

flymorgue2 said...

I recall the old post showing correlation of lottery use and being poor. I noted in the comments the increase among those making over 100K. Doesn't fit the model.

And welcome back Bill O'Ramon! Took sweeping criticism of the blog to bring you out? Glad to do it.

Mousee said...

The war between traditional and online casino isn’t over as I think. There are some big companies like Neteller (as billing system) or PartyPoker (as the largest casino) who will continue to lobby in order to return their positions. I think that decrease in casino for sale’ business on the US market will be substituted by increase on the European and Asian market.