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

A casino analyst’s conflict of interest

Nearly two years ago Phil Primack, writing in CommonWealth Magazine, exposed the flaws behind casino analyst Clyde Barrow’s rosy numbers. Primack explained that the UMass Dartmouth professor’s methodology consisted essentially of visiting the parking lots at Connecticut casinos and counting Massachusetts license plates. Very scientific.

Now the Boston Herald’s Jay Fitzgerald reports that Barrow is working as a paid consultant for a casino operator who wants to build in Hudson, N.H. “It’s really not much,” Barrow protests to Fitzgerald. Well, we all have to buy groceries.

At the same time, the long-dead Middleborough casino plan is showing signs of life, as federal legislation has been filed that could conceivably put the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s proposal back on track.

With Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo all on board for expanded gambling, these are dangerous times for those trying to save Massachusetts from the social ills that casinos would bring.


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  1. “save Massachusetts from the social ills that casinos would bring” – What happens in Vegas already happens in Massachusetts. Casinos are buildings, buildings don’t behave immorally or illegally, people do. I guess we ought to start shutting down the corner stores where YOU buy your Megabucks tickets, the restaurants around the state where live gaming happens every 5 minutes, correction, Update -every 4 minutes. Why dont you start ranting about shutting down the Mass Lottery, after you stop playing it, then you’ll see what ‘dangerous times’ are about.. and when 1/2 the cops and teachers are fired, you’ll better recognize the social ills that already exist. No, the govenment’s gambling habit far exceeds the impact of the individuals who have gambling problems, casinos or not.

  2. Newshound

    Bob Fontaine – the Massachusetts Lottery never should have happened.

    We are at a point with horrible disparity in wealth in our society. The Lottery and casinos are predatory. Further, casinos should not favor a particular race.

    With high unemployment, national and local debt, and an economy that is dug in so deep it will take many years to get back to what we hope is an old normal, we most certainly don’t need gambling which distracts from rather than creates wealth.

  3. Treg

    Sort of an aside – Does UMass have any policies on conflicts of interest that would cover this? Do we know if this is Barrow’s first consulting gig with the gambling industry, or did he already have this conflict when he published on the subject before? Is he required to disclose such arrangements in his publications?

  4. Treg

    The lottery and other forms of legalized gambling are not the only way to fully fund Massachusetts schools and police departments. They’re just the most regressive way.

  5. You may or may not be correct News. And I respect your opinion even though it may be contrary to my own. My point is that the “ills” that Dan speaks of already exist in the state, and in fact it is the state that has a gambling problem. I take a touch of issue with Dan admitting he plays the lottery, while at the same time being critical of other types of gaming. It can’t the the buildings themselves he takes issue with. For full disclosure, I dealt several games in Vegas for years, so my perspective is no doubt influenced by that. However, it wouldnt phase me in the least if they shut down the lottery and also forgot about casino gambling here in Massachusetts. They’re simply talking about legalizing them for the wrong reasons.. “IF” the people and government decided it should be legal, it should be because adults should have the right to choose their vices, NOT because it should be OK because we need to create more revenue. I know this, i’ve never seen anyone need a lung transplant from gambling, nor have I seen many drunk dirving accidents in a casino. Are casinos the only way to fund the needs of our state, lets hope not. But I bet they do! :).

    • Dan Kennedy

      Bob: I drink beer but I support keeping crack illegal. Yet they’re both intoxicants! I am such a hypocrite.

  6. I think your argument misses my point. There are alot of people who have been killed by drunk drivers who only drink beer. And alot of alcoholics who’s lives have been ruined because of the beer you paint as so innocuous. And I would imagine that you would feel just as insulted if I said Dan Kennedy shouldn’t be allowed to have beer because many people have problems with it as I am when you tell me I should be able to go to a casino for the same reason. Dan, you drink and you gamble, color it however you like. I personaly hope you enjoy the beer and win more than you lose.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Bob: I drink, but I don’t smoke crack. I buy a lottery ticket, but I don’t go to casinos and play the slots, as addictive a form of gambling as there is. The parallels are obvious. You just don’t want to see them.

  7. lafcadio mullarkey

    Really Dan, you buy lottery tickets? Stay away from the scratchies, they can be as addictive as cocaine, according to the MA Council on Compulsive Gambling. Don’t get hooked!

    The parallels are obvious all right. So are the inconsistencies.

    • Dan Kennedy

      I don’t play scratch tickets.

      Of course, the biggest difference — and the biggest problem — is that casino gambling requires casinos. That is the major issue that no one is talking about.

  8. You’re right again Dan.. and your megabucks only requires a stamp and a check written out to the Massachusetts State Lottery, or to visit the store on every street corner in every city and town in the state, or 1/4 of the bars and restaurants in the state. Gotta love the “it’s all right when I do it” cop out.. 1st sign of a problem gambler, denial.

  9. Treg

    Dan, I’ve decided you should stop playing the lottery.

    Sorry. This decision is final.

  10. Neil

    The example of one.

    Bob: I drink, but I don’t smoke crack. I buy a lottery ticket, but I don’t go to casinos and play the slots, as addictive a form of gambling as there is.

    Beer is not legal because Dan Kenendy does not have a drinking problem. At the same time, many beer drinkers in MA do have a drinking problem (addiction) and you are not arguing to make it illegal. Why not?

    Similarly, just because you are not addicted to scratch tickets does not mean that many people in MA are not addicted and yet you are not arguing to make it illegal.

    Clearly, It’s not simply a matter of addiction, it’s also a matter of the effects of that addiction on people’s lives (crack for example).

    If casino gambling ponied up the cash to fund addiction rehabilitation, would you change your position on prohibiting casino gambling in MA?

    If so, why don’t you have the same requirement for Beer and scratch ticket vendors?

  11. LFNeilson

    Dan, you do not have the prerequisite lack of intelligence for playing the lottery. Or were you poor at math?

    • Dan Kennedy

      Larz: The problem is that once you have a number, you have to play it. To do otherwise is to mock the gods. Just $2 a week.

  12. Newshound

    Schools should be supported with taxes and spent carefully, productively and efficiently. I think there is a lot of room for improvement with wit and innovation.

    Putting alcohol content aside, beer is much healthier than soft drinks.

    Gambling is predatory – even state lottery tickets unless the overall return is greater than 100%. This does not happen with casino or state lottery tickets.

    An occasional beer may contribute as much or more to good health as text messaging so long as neither are being done while driving a car, motorcycle, or plane.

    The few dollars spent on lottery tickets is better left in the checking account until it builds up enough to make an investment in a good American company that over a long time is likely to return 7% a year on average, far higher than any casino.

    Until you’ve passed on, you never know what resources will be needed for your care, especially if somehow you live into old age. If you dispose of your money recklessly you are putting society’s finances at unnecessary risk. Why would a good person desire to be a violator?

    So an occasional beer is in, gambling is out!

  13. O-FISH-L

    Many women (and men) have an addiction to sex without birth control, knowing that any unwanted pregnancies can be “taken care of by right” at the local clinic. Some of these women “terminate” dozens of their own children during the child-bearing years.

    Not only is this legal, but God forbid the pro-life folks try to pray with them or hand them an informational pamphlet when they arrive at the clinic.

    Yet when I want to exercise my right to a legal game of blackjack or Sic Bo– with my own, hard earned money– I’m banished from the state faster than Anne Hutchinson in 1638. At least she only had to go to RI. Casino gamblers have to go to CT!

    The world has truly gone mad when infanticide is legal and slot machines are not. Mercy!

  14. Treg

    Yeah, dozens. Happens all the time.

  15. Dan Kennedy

    Treg: By the way, I meant to respond to your earlier question about what policies UMass might have about conflicts of interest.

    Barrow is faculty. I assume he has tenure. Academic freedom is a wonderful thing.

  16. I find myself addicted to an argument that I dont really have a passion about either way.. perhaps some habits are healthy, even bad ones, which NewsHound basically acknowledges at the end of his post. LFN suggests that you have to have a lack of intillenege or ignorance of math to gamble.. Try dealing craps to 30 people with tens of thousands on the line every 8 seconds.. better yet, try understanding the game itself before suggesting only those of you with intelligence or the understanding of numbers (oddS) could have the capacity to understand. “Just two dollars a week” – “I only drink beer” – Yup, heard it all before.. that’s what we call legitimizing our own behavior while demeaning others for their’s. The world is falling apart before our eyes, we just gave countless billions of your money AND MINE to bail out the financial institutions, and NewHound wants to advise me how to make 7% a year by investing in them when my 401k has lost 50% of it’s value over the past 3+ years? You must be sharing beers with Dan! Are you kidding me? 7% a year, News, you are so clearly anti gaming that you dont even want a chance at getting your money back, they stole our money and then we gave it back to them again.. 7%? WOW! You actually dont see the stock market as the biggest casino in the world? I got a bridge for you. P.S. I hope none of you are angry with me for expressing my opinion as strongly as you are expressing your’s? If we didn’t have different opinions, this could be a rather meaningless exchange…

  17. lafcadio mullarkey

    What exactly is the conflict, anyway? Fitzgerald says Barrow is doing a “marketing feasibility” study for the developer, Greenmeadow Golf Course. Which is pushing for the resort/casino since their earlier plan for a big shopping/housing complex on the property fell through. Does that make Greenmeadow a “casino operator” (Dan’s words) or part of the “gambling industry” (Treg’s words), as opposed to just a developer trying to make as much money as they can off their property? It’s conflation.

    How does a study done now, funded by interested party X, conflict with research done in the past, not funded by X. It doesn’t seem like the kind of accusation to be tossed around so lightly. Who should fund such a study if not the developer? What disinterested party exists that would fund it?

  18. amusedbutinformedobserver

    If you pay for his opinion, whether “not much” or a lot, Barrow will be happy to try to justify more the merrier when it comes to gambling.

    From The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence:

    Here’s the essence:

    “Barrow told the commission the project could be done along with the five others proposed in other legislation.

    “‘We’re a long way from a saturated market,’ he said.”

  19. Newshound

    Bob Fontaine – an occasional beer for Dan helps keep him healthy, strong and smart. It provides nutrition.

    The $2 a week for the lottery is like a dripping faucet. In the course of a year it adds up to gallons. In the overall scheme of things, Dan can afford to have a dripping faucet. It is better if there are no drips, especially from our wallets.

    Casino and lottery gambling has a cost of overhead and profit for investors, thus the return overall must be far less than 100%. Very simply, this is not good.

    Investing in a diversified portfolio such as a mutual fund with a discipline in investment grade issues and shying from speculative grade, whether in an individual account or through a 401K over the span of years should produce attractive results. Your 401K should be responding in the inverse from what happened 2008-to earlier this year. The response is slower than a card game, but the overall results far better.

    The impatience of long-term results over favoring the speed of a card game is a sign of immaturity and an inability to fully accept adult responsibilities.

    The stock market is not a casino. Sometimes it looks that way. It is the capital machinery of the world.

    Larz is usually the benchmark of common sense. His comments about gambling and math are absolutely correct.

  20. lafcadio mullarkey

    amused, call me old fashioned but seems like there ought to be solid evidence of conflict of interest before making the charge. Though maybe not, because apparently we can add “conflict of interest” to the list of accusations too-casually made, along with “homophobe” and “racist”.

    Anyone qualified to do research is going to have an opinion one way or the other. There are no Martians newly beamed down available to be “objective” about the issue.

    In the absence of evidence otherwise, you can’t just proclaim that somebody who disagrees with you is a liar or crook, tempting though it may be. Or at least if you do think so, it’s on you to present an argument to that effect that goes beyond oh, he’s just in X’s pocket.

    Preferrably of course those who disagree would devote their energy to arguing with methodology, data and conclusions, rather than resorting to cheap shots about personal integrity.

    UMass Dartmouth is okay with Barrow’s work. No problem, just spread the smear. Of course UMass won’t touch a tenured prof. What do you expect, UMass is corrupt too!

    If a researcher is known for holding an opinion, and later interest X pays the researcher to repeat his opinion, that doesn’t invalidate the opinion. Everybody puts “their” experts on the stand, where they testify as to what they actually believe, for a fee. It’s the way the system works. It happens every day. It’s fair to consider the source, but not to dismiss the argument out of hand. That’s just mud slinging and is a lazy tactic.

  21. amusedbutinformedobserver

    Sorry, Mullarkey, I never accused Barrow of having any conflict of interest.

    He is bought and paid for by the casino industry. There’s no conflict there; they pay his bills, his research makes them happy. No conflict at all — just like the cigarette executives who stood before congress in April, 1994 and said cigarettes are not addictive. A conflict of interest would imply that he’s trying to serve two masters. Clearly he isn’t.

    As for the methodology, bring it on. There is enough wrongful analysis of casino economic impact floating around to torpedo claims of gambling leading to the economic promised land. States that saw gambling as an economic savior are finding out that it is anything but.

  22. Treg

    Dan, I don’t follow you. Tenured or not, UMass presumably has policies that cover all faculty.

    I’m stunned by some of the comments here. People really don’t understand the potential impact of a conflict of interest like this one? Or is that just the pro-casino element?

    • Dan Kennedy

      Treg: I can’t imagine what sort of policy UMass would have in place that would prevent Barrow from taking on outside, paid work. Even I, as a lowly assistant professor without tenure, have been paid as an expert witness in a libel suit, for instance. (Very obscure case, and I would certainly disclose if I ever chose to write about it.)

      I don’t see that Barrow has a problem until the next time he does research on casinos that is purported to be neutral. But, yes, then I think he would have a big problem, though not necessarily with the UMass administration.

  23. Treg

    Dan, it’s not that they would or necessarily should have policies barring outside work. It’s that it’s nice when universities require DISCLOSURE of such relationships.

    For obvious reasons.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Treg: I have no reason to think Barrow wouldn’t disclose. As I said, the time for disclosure is the next time he engages in academic research about casinos.

  24. Treg

    Right. Assuming he is being forthcoming. We have to take his word he wasn’t working for them before.

    The Herald piece says he also did work for the industry in 1999. Whether or not he should have disclosed that arrangement when he did the studies that have been cited by Gov. Patrick depends on the details. I think I would have been very interested to know about it.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Disclosed? Hell, that’s probably why Patrick was so impressed with him.

  25. Treg

    Should have been disclosed to the public, that is.

  26. Newshound

    Figuring out the overall negative economics and downside of a casino takes a few minutes of mental thought to reach a logical conclusion.

    We should not need to rely on the assistance of Analyst – Professor Barrows to do our thinking for us. If he chooses to be on the take that’s his problem.

    Professors should be serving as a role model in teaching young people how to earn a living. Sometimes that will be in the capacity of an analyst in the hopes of persuading non-thinking people and supporting the interest of self-serving people.

    Even if integrity is on the line, most of us should be able to think for ourselves, especially about gambling casinos which is pretty darn simple.

    It is good for college students to be exposed to the real world.

  27. Dan, his “not really much” = $11k. Check out my latest post on ryan’s take.

    Plus, he lied about having not worked for the industry since 1999. He did consultant work for Maine’s Yes on 2 campaign in 2008, getting paid $15,000 that time, under the guise of “Pyramid Associates,” which used his home address. He appeared at a press conference for them touting his “feasibility” study and attended several public meetings on their behalf. All on ryan’s take.

    BTW — the Governor says Barrow was ‘just one’ person he looked at when studying the issue. That’s bull. Barrow’s plan *was* Governor Patrick’s plan. They were essentially exactly the same thing. And Barrows has been the #1 person Beacon Hill casino proponents use to argue for casinos… so this is all a *very* big deal.

  28. Modern slot machines are do not function like table games. They are completely computerized (you have either won or lost the moment you touch the button – which replaced the ‘arm’ you once had to pull because it made you lose money slower) and designed to show completely false near-misses – leaving some “players” with the need to “chase” a win – a term familiar to gamblers and gaming dealers alike.

    When these machines were developed in the mid 80’s, even Vegas casino interests wanted nothing to do with them. This type of subterfuge would never have been allowed in casino table games. But the Nevada State Gaming Board OK’d the machines and the rest is avarice in action history.

    The phenomenon has been studied by several doctors including Hans Breiter, MD, director of the Laboratory for Neuroimaging and Genetics at Mass. General Hospital.

    Brieter’s research on brain scans during various activities revealed that the gambler shows the same brain activity as the cocaine addict. And this is a guy who HAS taken money from Big Gambling.

    Natasha Schull of MIT has also researched slot machines and the other ways the industry gets people to lose money.

    The bottom line is that it leads, in a certain percentage of people, to a serious addiction that does not only hurt them, but also more than not, hurts their families, friends, employers and communities.

    Research has also shown that proximity to casinos increases addiction. Here on the South Shore we’ve seen that with the CT and RI casinos 1 and 2 hours away.

    Most people do not realize that slot machines are designed this way. Upon developing an addiction, slot players often feel embarrassed or ashamed by their “gambling” addiction and the resulting financial problems that often also arise.

    They do not seek the treatment they need – or deny the need for it altogether.

    There also exists a definite stigma to gambling addiction in our society. But the reality is, if this were a defective product from China, we would be clamoring to have it banned.

    That gambling exists in both Connecticut and Rhode Island – so we should have it here in Massachusetts – is not the issue.

    The issue is that the State would sanction a product that is clearly not disclosed as addictive – yet actually is. Both Brieter and Schull have testified to this effect before the State House Committee for Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

    Another addiction problem arises once the state becomes dependent on slot revenue. It is now the regulator and stakeholder. In other states, loss limits and the gambling age have been lowered. 24/7 free drinks. Smoking bans lifted. …Among other things that give more influence to the gambling industry and less to the consumer as more revenue is desired.

  29. Newshound, you continue to express positions that anyone who enjoys gaming is an idiot. But then use phrases like “most of us should be able to think for ourselves”.. You dont want people to think for themselves, you want people to think the way that you think. I can’t think of a worse character flaw than that. How’s that 7% yearly return on the stock market that you keep talking about been working for you lately? Do you REALLY think you have all the answers and everyone who sees it differently is just a suffering fool? Heck, i’m 50 years old, i’d be happy to measure my success in life against your’s any time you like. I gamble sometimes AND pay my bills, my kids are in college, i’m happily married, and I dont need to appologize to anyone. Sure, you can make all your so-called “smart financial” moves all you want.. but when you’re done counting your money, dont forget to start living your life. Insulting, at best.

  30. p.s. If you (or Dan) and millions of others dont think casinos are right for Massachusetts, I respect that. But you dont need to express it in way that effectively calls anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. At $675 per capita spending every year on the Massachusetts State Lottery alone would basically mean that you’re one of the remaining smart people left in the state. And I SERIOUSLY doubt that on several levels. You got people paying $500 for a day at Foxboro Stadium, in the rain, 2 hours of traffic in, two more out.. I would rather sit in a warm casino having a few drinks watching it on a wide screen with a free room. I dont play because I think i’m going to win, I play because I enjoy the experience, and guess what, sometimes I do win. We all have our vices News, we all have our entertainment. You like counting pennys, I like spending them!

  31. Dan,

    Glad to see you banging the keys on this one. Come on over to United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts d/b/a/ USS Mass and see what we are doing. Slots/casinos and expanding predatory gambling are not inevitable. The exposure of Clyde Casinos Barrows – the cornerstone of the proponent’s proposals, is just the beginning of the farce that the circus of lobbyists and special interests have brought to the Commonwealth.

    Transparency? No.
    Ethics? No.
    Long-term sustainable economic policy? No.
    Gimmick? Yes.

    Government sponsored preying upon gambling addicts to fund expansion of government? Yes.
    Hope to see you on the 29th center stage for the lobbyist/special interest fest at the statehouse hearing on expanding predatory gambling…Gardner Auditorium.

    Ryan (above) and Sean Murphy (Globe) had Barrows’ number over two years ago….and it’s a loser.

    Your fans await.

  32. Newshound

    Bob Fontaine – I like hearing your opinions. Your views are important. And, it’s wonderful we can so freely express them.

    First, though, I don’t believe I’ve expressed that anyone who enjoys gaming is an idiot. Many smart people actually enjoy gambling. At least that’s my opinion.

    It is a form of recreation.

    You raised the following point yesterday: “Are casinos the only way to fund the needs of our state, lets hope not.”

    And, I agree. Let’s hope not. I think there is a better, more responsible way as mentioned in prior posts.

    You also somewhat compared a casino, perhaps the possibility of one in a sovereign nation within our state, with the stock market.

    We all know we had a horrible – and a once-in-a-century (we hope) financial collapse that brought the value of equities, overall, all the way back to the level of the late 90s. Real estate in particular has been hard hit. Maybe the dollar next. Gold has done well.

    I was simply pointing out that over a period of time your 401K which is most likely invested in a selection of quality issues should, and we hope, perform well. It may perform great in spurts, and lose in spurts.

    The law prevents your 401K going to the casino, instead though, simply because it is fun for smart people to do, but not wise, thus the restriction just in case the urge is too overwhelming.

    And, somehow, this level of brilliance became law by our elected politicians. I wouldn’t go so far as to call that a miracle, but it is good common sense.

  33. Newshound

    And Bob – it certainly does sound like your life is blessed with the ability to keep current with your bills, children in college and a happy marriage. And then money remaining to wisely choose sitting indoors instead of in the rain at the stadium to watch a game on a wide-screen and enjoy a drink.

    What more can anyone ask for? I know you couldn’t be happier if it were to spend Sunday afternoon at home reading BusinessWeek so there is no contest there. You’ve done well and you are a success, just as you suggest.

    Not everyone is so fortunate. There are many qualified, deserving people who would love to have their old job back. These are hard times for some people.

    There are some areas of Massachusetts with more than 15% unemployment. These are the people who had a job and don’t have a job. In that same area, such as Fall River for example, there’s another 40% who didn’t have a job prior to the recession. So, there not counted as unemployed. They just don’t have a job.

    You apparently can afford to gamble on occasion as a form of recreation. But, it is predatory, and many people in Massachusetts who can’t afford to gamble will, and Massachusetts can’t afford to support that.

    You apparently are blessed. Too many, sadly, and problematically to our society, are not.

  34. amusedbutinformedobserver

    Thanks to Happybottom Kratitz for a most enlightening post

  35. southie

    I hate to sound like the only non PBS watching, Obama voting for, football liking person on this blog, but is there no one that feels that certian people like to gamble, are going to gamble and most likely going to drive to CT or RI to do it.

    Why not capture some of that tax revenue in Massachusetts?
    I haven’t read one thing here about the social ills currently happening in CT. or RI because they built a casino out in the sticks…

    Stop trying to babysit everybody and let people who like to gamble throw the dice and use some of the revenue to help the people who already gamble to excess in Massachusetts.

    I had more but I have to go meet my bookie at a bar to settle up.

  36. Treg

    Southie, you have clearly not been paying attention.

    We’re not trying to babysit individuals. We’re objecting to an industry that completely exploits people. We’re objecting to a revenue policy that would be about as regressive as it gets. Go ahead, gamble all you want, see if I care. But no casinos in Massachusetts. We’re a lot better than that.

    And Obama supporters like football, too. We’re just maybe not as prone as a group to be stupid enough to gamble hard-earned money on it. Some of us.

  37. lafcadio mullarkey

    Southie, opinion about casinos occurs on a nanny state vs personal responsibility spectrum, that I guess does correspond roughly to a liberal vs free-market conservative spectrum. But I think there’s a lot of cross-cutting opinion too, as for example religious conservatives are apt to be anti casino on moralistic grounds, while some who tend liberal being pro (or at least not anti) casino, on grounds of distate for that same manner of moralistic guardianship.

    I for example am an Obama man, and not against casinos. I am not “pro” since I don’t gamble, not even $2/wk on lottery tix, and wouldn’t go to a casino, (unless they had a great breakfast buffet maybe) but resent those who think they know how best to protect me from perdition’s flames. Had enough of that thanks.

  38. Newshound

    lafcadio mullarkey – if you truly are a conservative, that is fine.

    But if there is some liklihood at some time in your life you will rely on government assistance of any type including public education, casinos do not belong in that society or civiliztion.

  39. Treg

    I believe that’s the first use of “perdition” at Media Nation. Dan?

  40. Treg

    Let me just add that I don’t think very many football-loving manly-man conservatives from Southie check in at blogs like Media Nation very often. I am pretty sure we can assume certain political operatives are keeping tabs on the casino-related posts, though.

  41. lafcadio mullarkey

    hound, my kids went to public school. God knows the Lynn schools could use more funding, and some of the local kids who don’t have a lot of prospects would be happy to have a chance at a job down the street at Suffolk Downs.

    Many “get the govt off our back” types are phonies I think (not that anybody here has said that). It sounds rugged…until it’s something they don’t like, then they want it illegal dammit, in govt-intrusive fashion just like the nanniest of liberals. Abortion being a good example. It’s easy to be a libertarian on an issue you don’t give a shit about anyway.

    The economic case isn’t ideological of course. Your opinion of the financial benefit of casinos should be independent of your politics. If some industry provides a net gain to the state, liberals and conservatives alike should approve. Let the capitalists and the state hash out the details, with input from concerned citizens, like with any other business.

    Then it’s a matter of the kind of business it is. If you’re still against it, even if you concede the financial argument, then your primary objection is either moral (specifically, Biblical: it is filthy lucre, dens of thieves, protecting our weaker brethren from irresistable temptation…), or because of NIMBY. Which is the exact opposite of ideological–no objection on principle, but oh god, think of the traffic and riff-raff, descending upon my once-quaint towne! Just build it somewhere else!

    Non-anti-casino work seems to be routinely dismissed by the tactic of claiming the presenter is not “objective” ie, is either in somebody’s pocket or is at best a shill. Casting moral aspersions on the presenter (“bought and paid for”), and leaving the argument itself unaddressed.

    I haven’t come across anybody saying that if they were satisfied that casinos would be a net financial gain, or even neutral, for the state, then they wouldn’t object. Which means the economic objection is after-the-fact. It always seems to come down to moral shepherds, protecting the members of the flock from their own vile natures.

  42. Newshound

    lafcadio mullarkey – first – my interest is not political. I could hardly surrender to someone else’s idealism.

    I do consider morals – ethics – values.

    I am concerned about false and misleading economic values both to the individual gambler and the state.

    Overall the players lose. Many of use can’t afford to do that and those who can shouldn’t. There is too much public need in health and education for just two examples for even the wealthy to be irresponsible.

    The average person should have investments and retirement-disability to ensure the cost of long-term care in excess of $100000 a year to avoid not becoming a burden on society. At least the attempt should be made.

    Taxpayers of today and of the future should not have to sacrifice financially to pay the burden of those who gambled their money away and are or will rely on society for their support.

    It is moralistic not to steal from the next generation.

    We should all attempt to avoid being morally illiquid.

    A successful civilization requires morals.

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