Tag Archives: casino

Another public hearing on the proposed slots parlor NEXT WEEK …

… Wed., Apr. 17, 7 p.m. – Worcester City Hall (Levi Lincoln room), Main Street.


At yesterday’s public hearing on the slots parlor, Deb Cary made a wonderful suggestion: Why not a water park/sports facility for the Wyman Gordon site? A place where folks can splash in the water, slide down cool, slippery water slides or … run, walk, play tennis, play games, enjoy … miniature golf or batting boxes … . How super for inner-city families! Good, healthy fun! And the water park could be wonderful enough to draw people from all over the region.

This is how Worcester, a family town at heart, should be thinking!

– R. Tirella



Perspective – Part 1

By Rosalie Tirella

I suppose if you do not live on Lafayette, Lodi, Meade, Grosvenor, Scott or Langden – the streets ACROSS from the old Wyman Gordon – the proposed slots parlor looks like a pretty good deal to you.

After all, city movers and shakers have gotten the city a hotel and other downtown amenities as a big thank you from the gaming guys. A big bribe for Worcester to sweeten a horrible dish – a slots parlor, for the Wyman Gordon site in Green Island. A slots parlor with 1,200 computerized slot machines that take credit and debit cards. A slots parlor, the kind of attraction no city or town wants.

When I was a kid growing up on Lafayette Street I was keenly aware of the fact that I was living in one of Wusta’s tuff neighborhoods. Not so much as a child, attending nearby Lamartine Street School, but as a teenager attending Providence Street Junior High, and later Burncoat Senior High. All my junior high and senior high pals were great, but I always cringed whenever they picked me up or dropped me off in their cars to go somewhere. At the beginning of Lafayette Street you had a strip joint (today, true to its stripper roots, a Hurricane Betty’s). Millbury Street, where my mom worked and my family shopped, was home to almost a score of seedy bars, places out of which men and women would stumble, drunk and bellicose. Lafayette Street had two bars, for Cripe’s sake: Ben’s Cafe and the old PNA club.

I was awash in booze!!! But I had a great mom who kept her girls straight – school every day, church every Sunday or Saturday eve,The Girls Club in summertime, after school jobs as soon as we turned 14 and a half years old (kids got work cards then). Summer and weekend fun with my aunts and uncles and their kids.

I was too busy being raised by Mrs. Tirella to sink into the world around me, even though my sisters and I were real neighborhood girls. We played with the neighborhood kids, walked to church, walked to Millbury Street every day for after school treats like burgers and cokes at the old Peter’s Dairy Bar or Messier’s Diner or even a bowl of clam chowder with our mom at Charles Restaurant – heaven! We were totally part of our urban environs. I saw lots of good and bad things. Stuff that delighted me, stuff that scared me. But out my mom and sisters and I went every day into what I now realize was a very rich, complex urban environment.

In a way, the Wynan Gordon site, then the Wyman Gordon factory, kind of anchored my world. It was where people worked, worked hard. It was a gated, no-fun place for me as a kid. A place that was noisy with machines and guys in hard hats worked hard. Big steel tubes were stacked in pyramids. They sparkled in the sun. I was kinda proud of the factory. It was always busy, it was always safe to walk by it as we made our way to the Worcester Public Libray on Salem Street. A City of Worcester Fire Station was right across the street as we made our way under the concrete over-pass. Urban, hectic, noisy. Sometimes unsafe, even violent. My old neighborhood.

Does Green Island need more noise, more social ills, more pain?

Why slot machines are like cocaine …

We ran this New York Times story in January. We re-post it in light of tonight’s city council meeting. We ask all Worcesterites to please say NO TO THE SLOTS PARLOR IN GREEN ISLAND!! Thank you!

– Rosalie Tirella

How Slot Machines Raise Our Hopes, Even When We’re Losing

Lloyd Miller

By RANDALL STROSS, The New York Times

Published: January 13, 2013

STEP into a casino and chances are good that slot machines are filling much of the space, as far as the eye can see. That dominant presence reflects the preference of many customers for machine gambling over human-mediated table games. Not surprisingly, electronic game machines contribute a clear majority of casino revenue in the states that permit them.

What may not be so evident is how a shift in casino gambling to screen-based games contributes to gambling addiction. It’s a story that would fill a book – and just such a book has arrived: “Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas” by Natasha Dow Schüll, an associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at M.I.T. The book offers a history of digital technology in casino gambling and shows how it grabs hold of players in ways never before available to equipment makers.

Professor Schüll, a cultural anthropologist, spent considerable time in Las Vegas casinos as part of her research. She met players who told her how they sought to enter a mindless state, a “zone,” in which all else is obliterated, and to stay there as long as possible.

“You aren’t really there – you’re with the machine and that’s all you’re with,” one subject said, describing the zone “where nothing else matters.”

This isn’t the only place where gamblers can reach such a state of mind. It’s also known to occur at table games and at the racetrack. But casino machines arguably supply the most immersive, distraction-free gambling experience.

Speed is one design element of modern gambling machines that helps preserve that zone. When the machines’ gear-driven handles were replaced by electronic push-buttons, the number of games that could be played in an hour doubled. On today’s video slots, played with credit cards instead of coins, players can complete a game in as little as three seconds. There is virtually no pause between plays, and virtually no opportunity to process what has just transpired. …

To read more, click here.



A song and … my car broke down …

… and the Old Injun Fighter came through for me and drove me around today (what a good egg!)  This morning, still missing his gnarly presence in my life, I asked him what he thought about my anti-slots-parlor crusade. The OIF is a realist, in the most brutal terms. Looking straight at me, he said: Yes. The people of Worcester will vote yes for this mess.

He told me people like this stuff. He couldn’t care one way or the other, but yes, Worcesterites will vote YES for the Green Island slots parlor and other gambling goodies/bribes slated for downtown.

This depressed me and I yelled at him: BUT YOU’LL VOTE NO DURING THE REFERENDUM, RIGHT?! YOU’LL VOTE NO!! VOTE NO!!!

Usually, he will vote the way I ask him to/ in a liberal/libertarian/progressive way, especially when it comes to the environment (which he is passionate about). But he was not up for the politics this morning (I always am). So I let up. But I did get his vote against the slots parlor!

Well, now that the “oracle,” has spoken, I am … blue. About slots. About losing him. We went to scores of concerts together. Saw The Moody Blues two or three times. I love this group, despite their kooky forays into poetry. Thought of this Justin Hayward song after the Old Injun Fighter dropped me off.

– R. Tirella

click on link below pics to hear a very romantic MB tune, written and performed by the lovely Justin Hayward!

Click here for song!




NOW poor Wusta folks can spend their $$ on slots instead of food!

I am re-posting this info. – R. T.

New Survey Finds 16.6 Percent of Households in Worcester Area Reported in 2012 Inability to Afford Enough Food

Report Exposes Broad Food Hardship; Underscores Need to Protect and Improve SNAP

Boston – 15 percent of respondents – or more than one in seven people – in Massachusetts reported in 2012 not having enough money to buy food that they or their family needed at some points during the prior twelve months, according to a new report released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

This report provides data on food hardship – the inability to afford enough food – for every region, every state, every Congressional District, and 100 of the country’s largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), including Boston-Cambridge-Quincy; Springfield; and Worcester MSAs in Massachusetts. The report found that nationally the food hardship rate was 18.2 percent in 2012. Among states, Mississippi had the highest food hardship rate (24.6 percent) and North Dakota had the lowest (10.9 percent).

For Massachusetts it found that:

  • 15 percent in the state in 2012 said they were unable to afford enough food.
  • For the Worcester MSA, the food hardship rate for 2011-2012 was 16.6 percent, compared to 12.7 percent in the Boston MSA and 18.3 percent in the Springfield MSA.
  • Regionally, Massachusetts’s rate was slightly lower than the regional average. For the Northeast region, 15.9 percent say they were unable to afford enough food.

“It is unacceptable that so many people across Massachusetts are struggling and cannot afford enough food to provide for their families,” said Georgia Katsoulomitis, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI). “These numbers show us that we must make our nation’s safety net stronger, not weaker. The proposed cuts to SNAP, WIC, Elder Nutrition and other programs are unconscionable and would de-stabilize families that are already struggling.”

FRAC’s food hardship report analyzed data collected by Gallup and provided to FRAC. The data were gathered as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project, which has been interviewing almost 1,000 households daily since January 2008. FRAC analyzed responses to the question: “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”

“Persistent unemployment, stagnant wages, and inadequate public programs are contributing to the nation’s high food hardship rate, yet Congress continues to propose cuts that would further fray our nation’s nutrition safety net,” said FRAC President Jim Weill. “Congress needs to fix the problems rather than doubling down on harming the most vulnerable Americans.”

Representatives from MLRI will be in Washington, D.C. for the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, sponsored by FRAC and Feeding America. With more than 700 attendees, the conference will culminate on Tuesday (March 5, 2013) with a day of action on Capitol Hill where attendees will share these data with their lawmakers. MLRI is joining FRAC in urging Members of Congress to strengthen the federal nutrition programs so benefits are sufficient to address hunger and so they reach more households.

One key weakness of SNAP is that its benefit levels are too low to allow people to purchase enough food. A report recently released by the Institute of Medicine underscored the current inadequacy of SNAP benefit levels in ensuring that recipient’s nutritional needs are met, and outlined flaws in how SNAP benefits are currently calculated.

“SNAP benefits must be improved, and not endure further cuts as some in Congress have proposed. A majority of Americans oppose such cuts,” said Katsoulomitis. “The conversation needs to change in Washington, and Congress needs to focus on building – not weakening – our nation’s safety net. The first step is passing a Farm Bill this year that protects and strengthens SNAP.”


Just thinking back …

By Rosalie Tirella

… to my Mohegan Sun casino days. Used to go there for the concerts and dinner with the Old Injun Fighter. The OIF didn’t gamble, neither did I. But as we waited in line to get into the concerts, held in various spots through out Mohegan Sun, we got the chance to observe the gamblers.

We both noticed this: That the folks gambling did not look like the sexy, stylish high rollers pictured in the Mohegan Sun ads. Most of the people we saw looked lower middle class, not even solid middle class. The OIF, observant and funny (in a low-key kind of way, one of the reasons I fell so hard for him!), said: Look at all the people in wheelchairs! I, probably a little buzzed from the incredible Pina Colotas I was slurping down, gamely chimed in with: Yah! And look at all the folks hooked up to oxygen tanks!!!

Not very sensitive things to say, but we were buzzed and happy about the great music we were gonna hear. … Then, I started counting all the gamblers in wheelchairs and hooked up to oxygen tanks. I counted a lot of people. Especially the poor souls at the slot machines. There they were in their wheel chairs, the oxygen tanks hanging from the side of their wheel chairs, just playing and playing and playing the slot machines. They looked mesmerized! They were alone, in their own worlds, totally lost in the whirring, buzzing, whistling slot machines. Some of the machines were penny slotmachines. All you needed was one cent to play! I remember seeing a person with pennies laid out before him. He was in it for the rest of the night, or for as long as his oxygen tank could sustain him. Smoking is allowed in the casino. The OIF, a guy who hates cigs, used to joke that we had probably smoked two cigarettes each, just waiting in lines or walking through Mohegan Sun. The people on oxygen tanks were fearless. Addicted to slots? I do not know. But watching them play made me a little sad.

I do not want to see this in my beloved Green Island. The wealthy folks having fun at the gaming hotel/casino downtown, and the poorer, handicapped folks testing their luck at the Green Island slot parlor. The city’s new red light district.

This is what sociologists and cultural anthropologists call environmental injustice. It happens when society dumps landfills in poor or working class neighborhoods. It happens when society knocks down a poor neighborhood and puts in an airport a la East Boston. It happens when society cuts a poor neighborhood in two to run a state highway through it a la Green Island and 290 years ago. It happens when chemicals are dumped or drained into poor rural areas. Politicians shrewdly and cynically believe they can get away with these crimes against poor humanity because no one really gives a shit about poor people. They are powerless: they have no or little money, they have no standing in the community, they don’t even vote.

And so, our city leaders and the gaming guys, have already done the despicable: took what could have been a cool development for the Green Island Wyman Gordon site and instead gave Green Islanders slots. Slot machines. Around 1,200 if them. I guarantee you the parlor will be a success, filled with folks of limited income. Many of them in wheelchairs and hooked up to oxygen tanks.

We need other VOICES on the Worcester City Council …

… because the people “representing” us now are brain dead. They are NOT LISTENING to us/our concerns. It is as if the gaming/casino guys have taken a little flashlight, stuck it in front of our city councilors’ faces and twirled it! We would like to see Barb Haller back on the city council, as an at large city councilor. She is so smart, so passionate about Worcester and its people. She would be asking all the right questions! Run, Barb, run!! PLEASE!

Barbara Haller

At any rate,  make your voice heard re: the slots parlor/casino fiasco. Vote!! During the referendum, for people you want to see on city council. If you aren’t registered, this is where you start:

How Do I Register to Vote?

Complete information about registering to vote. Forms and instructions are available in the Massachusetts Elections Division website

Let’s go, Wusta!!!!

– Rosalie Tirella


Where’s the vision for downtown Worcester?

This is what a slots parlor looks like. NO, NO, NO to a slots parlor in Green Island!!!

By Rosalie Tirella

I am amazed, no, make that horrified, that we are blithely skipping up the casino path for downtown Worcester. DOWNTOWN WORCESTER! This was not ‘in the cards’!!

We get a new downtown hotel built for free courtesy of the gaming guys. Of course they aren’t gonna give city leaders their free downtown hotel without some major strings, more like chains, attached to this big freebie. So not only do we have to swallow a free standing slots parlor at the Wyman Gordon site, we also have to accept gambling – a casino – in our downtown.

You know the downtown I am talking about – the one city leaders said was about to blossom into OUR NEW THEATER DISTRICT. The downtown city officials were touting as the city’s next HIGHER EDUCATION HUB. An education mecca, with Quinsig Community College renting a ton of space for their health sciences program in the old T and G building, to complement the pharmacy school, which has bought yet another downtown building. Then there is more education coming our way, possibly in an incubator program, again in the former T and G building, for small biz students. And the city was thinking of putting a hockey rink in our library parking lot, paid for by the colleges, so students could play their ice games.

How the hell does a casino fit into the education/theater picture? What will visiting parents think when they see their kids taking bio ethics classes or optometry classes next door to a gambling joint? Is this where their kids will go to unwind after taking their finals? Outside our PUBLIC LIBRARY, where folks go to expand their brains, not their bladders (all casinos offer great drink specials). Do we need to expose people in their early twenties to the magic and allure of black jack?

What are our city leaders thinking? Is there a cohesive picture here? A grand plan or vision?

We think not. The city is desperate to revitalize downtown. City leaders are throwing anything and everything at the urban renewal wall, hoping something sticks. If it is college classes and kids fine. If it is gambling and whoring and boozing that is fine, too. They will take whatever sticks on our downtown development wall.

We, the people of Wusta, do NOT have to accept City manager Mike O’Brien and Mayor Joe Petty’s desperation. We need to vote the entire mess down. This is not the plan we were promised – a casino/slots parlor/luxury hotel and restaurants for the Wyman Gordon site in Green Island. This was a cool idea and might have worked. But various city biz movers and shakers put their fingers into the pie, pushing their agendas and interests. Now we have something entirely different. Our own downtown gambling shit sandwich, with slots in Green Island, soon to be the city’s new red light district!

People of Worcester, we were mislead. We need to vote this new package DOWN come referendum time.