and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

S.2227 -- "No" to Slot Machines

To:  Members of the General Court

Contact: Chip Faulkner – (508) 384-0100

Citizens for Limited Taxation opposes S. 2227 – slot machine gambling – for the following reasons:

1.  Additional gambling money pouring into Massachusetts will not solve this state’s fiscal problems. More money pouring in will only worsen the runaway spending which has plagued this state for the last two decades. Serious long term problems, such as health care, will only be addressed if there is a fiscal tightening.

2.  The four racetracks lobbying for the slots say they’re needed so the tracks can stay in business. What prevents hundreds of other businesses from making the same argument? If the slots are approved, why shouldn’t other businesses hire the same high powered PR firms to shmooze the Legislature? Maybe they won’t get the slots, but it’s bound to be a subsidy in some manner, shape or form.

3.  People drive to other states to spend gambling money, so the mantra goes; let’s keep them here. What evidence is there that gamblers would stay here instead of heading for the out-of-state casinos? Also Massachusetts probably loses millions in sales tax revenue to New Hampshire. When’s the last time anyone suggested lowering or eliminating the sales tax to be competitive?

4.  Is there anyone of the 6.3 million Bay Staters who doesn’t think this will lead to even more political corruption than we’ve already experienced in this state? We can predict that crime, societal problems and the number of individuals on the take will increase if the slots are approved. It’s no accident that the New Hampshire Attorney General, the Chiefs of Police, and the Sheriffs Association are fighting the introduction of slots in our neighbor to the north.

5.  Incredibly, if the proposed new bill passes, the tracks will have a monopoly on the slots. Why would the Massachusetts Legislature give a monopoly on anything to the racetracks just to keep them in operation? Lots of other businesses closed or downsized last year, shedding employees left and right. The state didn’t rush in with the promise of slots to keep them employed – nor should it.

6.  The racetracks have plenty of competition for the entertainment dollar in Massachusetts. Tourists spend money on things they enjoy, from Six Flags in Springfield to myriad tourist attractions in Boston all the way down to various activities on Cape Cod. As far as we know, none of these would be protected or subsidized with the promise of slot machines!

Please vote NO on S.2227.

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