Casino gambling numbers don’t add up

New report cites harm to local aid and tax base as reasons against casinos

A new report says predatory gambling proposals in Massachusetts will hurt local aid to towns and cities and divert millions in discretionary income from the state and its taxpayers.

The report also says that predatory casinos and slot machines will push more people deeper into personal debt, burdening social service networks and taxpayers.

The executive summary of “The Casino Math Workbook for Beacon Hill’’ was written and released today by United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts (USS-Mass), a statewide coalition opposed to predatory gambling and dedicated to informing the public and lawmakers about the negative consequences of legalizing casinos and slots machines in the Commonwealth.

“The numbers of the gambling industry just don’t add up,” said Kathleen Conley Norbut, of Monson and president of USS-Mass. “We now know that the predatory gambling proposals for Massachusetts are nothing more than another kind of Bernie Madoff something-for-nothing scheme. These casino operators want to line their pockets by addicting vulnerable citizens and state government.”

The report also disproves claims that casinos and slots will bring new net revenue to the state and create jobs. The report explains:

State funds that go to local aid for towns and cities will be lost to out-of-state developers as the state Lottery loses over 10 percent of its revenue.

The claim of $200 million in new tax revenue would require 40,000 new gamblers every day.
To match the revenue generated by the state Lottery, citizens would have to gamble and lose 11 times more money.

When compared to other forms of gambling and the state sales tax, casinos are by far the most volatile and unpredictable form of revenue.

Expanding predatory gambling costs taxpayers $3 for every $1 generated to address increased crime, bankruptcies and addictions.

“Every time the casino wins, Massachusetts communities lose,” Norbut said. “Much like the tobacco industry, slots and casinos need to attract new addicted users to gamble and bring in revenue.”

USS-Mass and its allies have repeatedly called for an independent cost-benefit analysis of expanded gambling proposals before any action to legalize slots or any other form of predatory gambling.

An independent cost-benefit analysis is supported by a broad, bi-partisan coalition of leaders and groups, including Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Mass Chiefs of Police Association, League of Women Voters, Mass Council of Churches, National Association of Social Workers MA-chapter and the Massachusetts Family Institute.

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