By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Bailey skewers “gaming” study

There are so many reasons that we’re going to miss Globe columnist Steve Bailey. Among those reasons is his staunch, principled, fact-based opposition to casino gambling. Bailey’s got a good one today, poking holes in the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce study — not that it already didn’t pretty much look like Swiss cheese.

Something I had missed, but that Bailey picks up on right away: the very title is “Casino Gaming in Massachusetts,” thus relying on the preferred PR term for gambling rather than the English language. His description of so-called revenues as gambling losses is dead-on. And he wonders how long it will be before Donald Trump starts seeking a tax cut.

Bailey’s column comes on the same day that the Globe’s Sean Murphy reports that slot-machine revenues are plunging in Connecticut and Rhode Island, showing that oversaturation is already taking a toll. People only have so much money they can lose, apparently. The Patrick administration says it sees no need to revise its numbers, which makes sense once you understand they’re based on nothing but wishful thinking in the first place. (Plus whatever Clyde Barrow jotted down while hanging out in parking lots.)

In today’s Herald, Scott Van Voorhis offers some horrifying tales of gambling addiction, but says advocates are neutral on Gov. Patrick’s three-casino plan because of the money he would include for treatment. The advocates seem not to understand that there will be a lot more gambling, and a lot more addiction, if people don’t have to drive all the way to Foxwoods.

Not to mention that treatment money can always be cut. Especially if it’s needed to give a tax break to Donald Trump.

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  1. cranberrycynic

    It is important to note the source of funding for the Mass Council on Compulsive Gambling referred to in the Van Voorhis report.From their website-How is the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling funded? Since 1987, the Massachusetts Legislature has made a commitment to responsible gambling-related public policy for the Commonwealth and ensured that funding from the Massachusetts State Lottery and the Massachusetts Racing Commission is allocated to provide compulsive gambling education and treatment. These funds are managed by the Department of Public Health / Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. In addition, the Council accepts private donations and charitable trusts and bequests, and has received project-specific grants from private organizations and companies. The Council also accepts private donations and charitable trusts and bequests.

  2. Anonymous

    This just went up this afternoon on just can’t wait to learn more about the members of the “Massachusetts Coalition for Jobs and Growth.” Let me guess.

  3. Ron Newman

    “Gaming”, to me, is something you do in a video arcade, or on your Nintendo Wii, or on a game board such as the kind sold at places like Your Move Games.

  4. Anonymous

    Here’s the link to the pdf of the

  5. acf

    How much money is gambled state by state in New England, both within a state, and by gamblers from neighboring states? Included in those figures should be lottery gambling. What is the point at which the market becomes saturated, and the ever increasing cost of gasoline forces gamblers to buy lottery tickets at their neighbor store, instead of making the long drive?

  6. Boston Venerable Bede

    I applaud your ongoing commitment against gambling expansion in Massachusetts. I spoke with Mayor Driscoll of Salem about this issue. She is part of the “Committee for Gambling Expansion.” I told her that moneys spent at the expected Revere casino will take moneys from the Salem, MA economy. Bailey finally puts numbers on my statement. We will become poorer over this economy policy.

  7. Anonymous

    I still content that exactly as much gambling profits will go into gambling addition treatment as tobacco settlement money goes into anti-smoking campaigns: little or none.

  8. Sean Roche

    I’m no fan of gambling, but you seem to have a contradiction in your post. You say that oversaturation has hit the New England gambling scene. But, then you say that there will be a lot more gambling and a lot more addiction if casinos come to the Commonwealth.If the primary point of the casino plan is to capture the gambling dollars that Mass. residents are currently spending in Connecticut and Rhode Island, then gambling addiction shouldn’t go up by that much. If the point of the casino plan is to convert current non-gamblers, then saturation shouldn’t have much effect on Massachusetts plans.In fact, one argument in favor of casinos in Massachusetts could be that it will direct Mass. residents’ losses towards treatment of Mass. residents. As far as I know, Connecticut gambling revenues don’t support out-of-state treatment programs.I know that this is a blog entry and not an essay and there isn’t space to full explore how the saturation effect seen in other states should bear on the Commonwealth’s projections and that, capture notwithstanding, there will be some significant new gambling and, therefore addiction. But, even a blog entry should avoid the appearance of inconsistency.From what I can tell, Mitt Romney’s plan seems the wisest of all: collect protection money from out-of-state casinos so long as Massachusetts stays out of the business. It wouldn’t do anything more to encourage gambling, and would provide a source of revenue to fund gambling problems suffered by Mass. residents in out-of-state facilities.Meanwhile, to fix the bridge and road problem, the Commonwealth should assess the people who use them. Time for a $.10 to .15 hike in the gas tax.

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