With House members already approving a gaming bill, the discussion over whether to legalize casinos in Massachusetts has moved to the Senate. There’s just one problem: Lawmakers aren’t focusing on the most important part of the issue.
That would be revenue. Money. Moolah. Dollars and cents.
In other words, the very reason the whole matter is being discussed in the first place.
If senators and state representatives forgot about the politics of personal persuasion and how quickly after leaving office they can score a job at a casino, they might actually learn something pretty important: These big-money destination sites are losing money.
Oh, they weren’t always suffering. Back when politicians here couldn’t get out of their own way and bungled numerous casino proposals, the two biggest ones in the area – Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut – were raking in the dough hand over fist. Of course, that didn’t matter to egotistical lawmakers here who were only interested in pandering to lobbyists and securing their own re-election. What about gambling addictions, they postured. What about the effect on lottery ticket sales? What about the socio-economic impact? What about infrastructure? The only thing that was missing was that terrified woman on The Simpsons who pops up every now and again to shout: Will someone please think about the children?
It only makes sense that our lawmakers would wait until the proverbial casino boat is springing leaks all over the place to say, “Let’s put up three!”
Across the state line in the Nutmeg State, Pequot tribal officials reported an 11.8-percent decline in slot machine revenue at Foxwoods for the month of August over last year. Mohegan Sun fared only slightly better, weathering a 10.6-percent loss. That, according to stories in The New London Day and The Norwich Bulletin.
Alarming? As Sarah Palin might say, you betcha.
In May this year, Mohegan realized $4 million less in slot machine revenue over the same month last year, posting a 6-percent loss. Foxwoods posted a 1-percent loss.
Note to Beacon Hill: In case you haven’t noticed, there’s this little thing called a recession that’s still lingering around these parts. Folks are paying way too much at the pump, getting bilked for higher taxes seemingly every other time they turn around and losing their jobs to boot. And now you want to open casinos?
In this case, lawmakers appear a day late and a dollar short. If a bill passes and three new casinos do find their way to Massachusetts, they may find themselves several million dollars short.
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