smily face         Remember the days when you asked your parents for an Atari Video Game because all your friends had one? (Yes, I’m old enough to have played pong on my TV set)

Here are the possible parental replies:

  1. Good – then go to your friends and play, we need to spend money on the basics for our family needs.
  2. Oh, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?
  3. Sure, I’ll get you one, only to keep you here.  Invite your friends over here instead – and let’s get the biggest & best one.
  4. Oh, I’m not buying one of those evil things or even letting it come near our house.  And I suggest you don’t go to your friends to play that devilish game either.

When looking at the continuing saga of New England Casino proposals, it seems like the same scenario.  Let’s look at each one:

1) Good – then go to your friends and play, we need to spend money on the basics for our family needs – This refers to those “Not in my back yard!” communities.  Gambling is fine, as long as I don’t pay for it and I can still reap the financial benefits for my community.  A lot of this has been seen in Massachusetts, of late.  Some communities, like Palmer, MA, take it one step further – turning around and not allowing you to play the game anywhere else or you might get punished.  Sour grapes, sour grapes….

2) Oh, if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them? – Ah yes, the old “jump off a cliff” quote.  This is used by those who just want to dismiss the new game, erase it from the landscape.  Opposition in both NH & MA have used this tactic, too.  “Just because the other states have casinos, (and 38 states now have casinos), doesn’t that mean WE need one, too?”  Sorry, but the gambling industry has been a part of the world’s history since the first knuckles were rolled as dice, and is growing throughout the world.  You can’t bury your head in sand yelling “make it go away!”  It’s here to stay. That said, how do we make it better for everyone involved. It’s now all about the evolution of safer, efficient resorts that include amenities for people to enjoy and needed revenue by states.

3) Sure, I’ll get you one, only to keep you here.  Invite your friends over here instead – and let’s get the biggest & best one. – So this refers to the knee-jerk reaction in states to compete against the impending doom of lost revenue from other states.  While I am a proponent for a responsible gaming industry, I don’t propose a quick fix reaction.  I think the  “slots-only” joint in Massachusetts and proposals by NH for casinos need to be thought through.  It isn’t coincidence that Massachusetts has it’s slot-only parlor opening first, right near the RI state line.  It’s like buying up cheap properties in Monopoly to put up the first hotel – you don’t win at first, but you cut into everyone else’s cash in the mean time.

4) Oh, I’m not buying one of those evil things or even letting it come near our house.  And I suggest you don’t go to your friends to play that devilish game either. – This is the morality card.  Casinos (video games) are evil and bring evil. The perception is repeated over and over again – a greedy industry united in unholy alliance with policy makers and politicians who turn a blind eye to the social and economic costs of gambling.  Recently, I read an article how casinos prey on the senior citizens of our time, and that the industry makes their billions off of them. It was the perfect example of exaggeration to scare those on the moral fence.  But let’s look at a few facts, since % and math are so often used to skew a view point:

  • More Seniors gamble than ever! – True, because we have so many more mobile Seniors than ever before – driving, working, and traveling well after the 70’s – enjoying life.  We are living longer, and retirement isn’t the same thing it was in 1965.
  • Casinos make it easier for older patrons by supplying them with scooters, and medical necessities like oxygen and used needle containers in the bathrooms for their insulin and…….  NEWSFLASH! They offer that for ALL patrons.  It must be a conspiracy, because grocery stores, malls, museums, public buildings, etc…. offer those conveniences, too.
  • Casinos offer Seniors with free slot play, free meals, and other freebies to get them in so they can spend their money………….NEWSFLASH #2! ALL casinos do that for all it’s patrons, it’s called rewards clubs and marketing, and it’s the backbone of our capitalistic society which America’s success is built upon. It’s called bonuses.  It’s called sales in grocery stores.  It’s called rewards credit cards by airlines, banks, gas stations…….and, in today’s casinos, it’s been that way since Jay Sarno’s Caesar’s Palace first flourished in the desert of Las Vegas over 40 years ago.

But seriously, does this industry have issues? YES!

Is addiction a concern?  – YES, in casinos as well as many other industries and in many, many forms that we as humans meet on daily basis.

Is the need for revenue a concern? – YES, and states in the northeast continue to grapple with the need to patch up aging roads, bridges, and interstates.

Is increased crime a concern? YES, however the increase in usual crimes associated with casinos is down – white collar crimes such as embezzlement are up.

This blogger’s bottom line is the human element.  Moderation is needed.  Generalizations are as meaningless as the discussions they spark.  Take your, time, investigate each entry individually – you might learn something, pro or con.

That’s all for now

Binbin

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