Why We're Voting No On the Casino

Because we all should have a say about what happens in our community.

Because slot machines kill jobs and small businesses.
  • Every slot machine destroys at least one job in the local economy every year because people gamble their money away instead of spending it at local businesses. [Source: J. Kindt, Senior Ed. (Ed.). 2009. Gambling with Crime, Destabilized Economies, and Financial Systems, 1-1,286. Buffalo, New York: William S. Hein and Company, Inc.]
  • The Suffolk Downs proposal calls for 4,000-5,000 slot machines to be installed, which will lead to huge job losses in the local economy.

Because we believe the problems greatly outnumber the promises.

  • Suffolk Downs has overpromised. Gambling experts agree their revenue projections are unrealistic. There are no guarantees of how many local residents will be hired, and they’ve backtracked on the number of full-time jobs and refuse to disclose the median salary of casino workers.
  • Many of the promises Suffolk Downs negotiated with the City will have to be revisited after the 11/5 vote. But residents have little say in this process, and decisions about how to spend any money they pay for the problems caused by the casino will get made by city bureaucrats across the harbor
Because we want safe streets and healthy homes for our kids and families.

Because PEOPLE matter more than PROFITS.

  • Gambling addiction rates double in communities surrounding casinos, and personal bankruptcies increase by almost 20 percent. You’re more likely to have a family member or friend with a new gambling problem than a new job from the casino.

Because East Boston’s best days are ahead of it.

  • We deserve better!  In other parts of the Boston area, investors are pouring money into other kinds of development projects that are healthy, not predatory- housing, offices, shops, etc.  Why don’t we deserve the same?

Because casinos make for lousy economic development.




10/26/13 - Download our mitigation analysis: "Will a Casino Harm or Help East Boston? A Community Report on the Proposed Caesars Casino and Mitigation Agreement"  (Updated to include information about Caesars' departure from the casino proposal)

Here's what the Ward 1 ballot will look like.

Articles detailing negative casino impacts:

"East Boston Businesses Don't Like Their Odds," Boston Herald, 8/28

Millions in pledged mitigation money isn’t consoling some East Boston small business owners, who still worry about the impact of a $1 billion Suffolk Downs resort casino on their livelihoods and community.

“That’s not going to help me in any way for sure,” said John Mastrangelo Sr., owner of Kelley Square Pub. “I’m worried about people not coming to my restaurant. I think people would rather go up to Suffolk Downs and gamble and eat, and just bypass us.”

"Gaming Expert: Conditions Ripe for Corruption," Boston Herald, 8/29
“Four thousand jobs falling out of the air and no one is asking where does the money come from, where do the gamblers live, what’s going to happen to their communities? And if they’re going to be helped, then why do you have to pay $30 million if it’s so good?”

The typical customer of an urban casino is neither a tourist nor a deep-pocketed whale, but a local of modest means. Dave Jonas, president of Philadelphia’s Parx Casino, told the Pennsylvania Gaming Congress in 2010 that his typical customer spends $25 or $30 dollars a visit — and many of them return three, four and five times a week.

Much of the tax revenue produced by gambling comes out of their pockets.

...proposals for legalized slots faced a lot of not-in-my-backyard opposition, and the perfect answer was to put the slots in an existing gambling facility — a racetrack. The track, of course, got a percentage of the profits for running the operation. The rationale for allotting money to purses and breeders’ awards (rather than, say, health care for seniors) was to revive the sport by improving the product and attracting more fans.

But every racing fan knows what happened instead. When slots were legalized, the machines proved to be so lucrative many track owners lost interest in the sport and viewed it as a nuisance. They made no effort to improve the game or attract new fans; slot players are more profitable customers.

A community a lot like East Boston got a casino a few years ago, and now it's overrun with pawn shops, people don't walk on the streets anymore, local businesses are hurting, and the casino is generally looked at unfavorably in the community.

"Casinos Ruin Cities," Richard Florida, Huffington Post
On the prospect of Toronto building a casino downtown:
I had my chance to vent about casino gambling in Toronto in the Star last spring. "About one thing," I wrote, "urbanists across the ideological spectrum are unanimous. And that is that building casinos, especially in an already thriving downtown, is a truly terrible idea." My colleague Kevin Stolarick put it best: 'Adding a casino to Toronto will not make it a 'world-class' city. It will make it second class."

"The Casino Effect," Biscayne Times
...eliminating gambling after it has taken root is nearly impossible, Kindt concedes. “Once the gambling interests are in,” he says, “it’s like an economic cancer on the body politic. You can’t get them out. They will want to move in whatever they can, as fast as they can get in. Then, once they have their foot in the door, they will continue to push for more and more and more. You have to slam the door shut and, if you’re smart about it, cut their foot off while you’re at it.”

"The Economic Growth Fallacy of Supporting Casinos," Philly.com
Not one study unaffiliated with the American Gaming Association backs up the claim that casinos contribute to economic development. One, by Douglas Walker of the College of Charleston in South Carolina and John Jackson of Auburn University, not only found that casinos don't foster growth, they also found scant evidence that casinos positively affect employment (outside of an initial employment burst for construction, the jobs they add are minimal and low-wage) or aggregate tax revenues.

In other words, there is no multiplier effect. Casinos regressively redistribute money that would be in the economy anyway.

"Blackjack," NPR's This American Life

Listen to just how far Caesars will go to lure a known gambling addict back to their casinos.

"Horseshoe Casino Cleveland Employees Count on Customers' Tips," Cleveland.com

Casino jobs are some of the worst-paying of any industry in America. Hundreds of employees even walked off the job in Cleveland after working long hours and then seeing how small their first paychecks were.

"Casinos Bring Jobs, But Also Crime, Bankruptcy and Even Suicide," Wonkblog, WashingtonPost.com

But the casinos also lead to a plethora of social ills, including increased substance abuse, mental illness and suicide, violent crime, auto theft and larceny, and bankruptcy. The latter three all increased by 10 percent in communities that allowed gambling.

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston memo stating that casinos leads to little direct economic stimulus.

Casinos are gathering data on customers that could easily help them identify gambling addicts...the only problem is, they're intentionally not using it for that reason. (they are probably even marketing even harder to those patrons) Caesars CEO Gary Loveman called such software "a terrible idea."

Why would we willingly invite this unknown entity, this Trojan horse, into our community — one which has seen unprecedented positive growth over the last 20 years?

Communities are built, not bought.

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