After considering all that is at stake, the main considerations I see include:
- lost revenue & retaining gaming revenue
- gambling addiction and
- market saturation,
LOST GAMING REVENUE in CT
In my opinion, the addition of slot parlors at the New york and Massachusetts borders may help retain revenue, but they won’t entice bigger gamblers to leave Massachusetts or Maine to return to Connecticut as they always did. They will simply stay locally, which is the growing trend with so many casinos in so many states. Frankly, I don’t see the legislature or the residents of Connecticut passing for this latest proposal – those who favor expanded gambling in Connecticut really don’t have the numbers on their side? Finally, it would seem logical to argue that more casinos in the state would simply dilute the already shrinking customer base in Connecticut. A gambler who lives in greater Boston and currently travels to northeast Connecticut is going to patronize the casino in Everett, outside of Boston, when it’s built instead of Connecticut. If there four casinos in Connecticut, this hypothetical needed gambler’s lost revenue is still not coming back to Connecticut.
Addictions are real – they are part of the human element. Gambling addiction is on the rise everywhere in the nation. Various surveys have determined that around two million people in the U.S. are addicted to gambling, and for as many as 20 million citizens the habit seriously interferes with work and social life. This includes lotteries, keno, and many other smaller but vastly accessible gambling experiences that do not include entering a casino. Around the U.S.—particularly in California—casinos are taking gambling addiction seriously. Marc Lefkowitz of the California Council on Problem Gambling regularly trains casino managers and employees to keep an eye out for worrisome trends, such as customers who spend increasing amounts of time and money gambling. He urges casinos to give gamblers the option to voluntarily ban themselves and to prominently display brochures about Gamblers Anonymous and other treatment options near ATM machines and pay phones. A gambling addict may be a huge source of revenue for a casino at first, but many end up owing massive debts they cannot pay.
Everyone realizes that casinos are in the business of making money, right? – much like the tobacco, alcohol, and fast-food industries. All four should be considered recreational, and yet we realize all four have tendencies for addiction that can ruin people, families, and lives, and individuals should also take the responsibility of getting help when needed. The states, tribal casinos, or casino industry are not the only ones causing us all to ask “what’s wrong with this picture?”
Wednesday is the 4th and last installment of this series. I’ll briefly look at the implications of market saturation and the future of the New England Casino Industry “in the year 2525”
See you then. That’s all for now.