The writer of this blog likes to gamble. You may not know that about me because I only gamble in Las Vegas. It became clear to me early on in my life that I have an addictive personality. There are some things that I don’t do like drinking and smoking. Not because I am morally upright. I’m not. But because these are behaviors that trigger addictive behavior in me.
I have to admit that when I heard that gambling was coming to Massachusetts I was excited. I pictured us becoming a sort of Monte Carlo on the Charles. But then I started to hear a lot of unhappiness about it. Sim City for Mac FINALLY came out and I decided to see what would happen to my little city if I built casinos for revenue.
I think it was informative.
First of all, the casinos could bring in a lot of money. However, they could also bankrupt my city. The difference was the infrastructure. My city needed to be able to attract and support a large number of tourists in order to be profitable.
Second, crime became a significant problem and a new class of criminal moved in. These new criminals were more sophisticated and perhaps more ominously, gave the mayor (me) more opportunity for corruption.
I met a young girl over the weekend. She had lived in Michigan. She told me that the casinos there were devastating to Detroit. They had triggered the collective addictions of the city. It did give me pause about the wisdom of plopping a casino in the middle of an urban area.
So I have some thoughts about all of this in terms of Boston.
It seems to me that you need tourists from other places to support a casino. You don’t want Bostonians draining all of their money into gambling because that will deplete their cash to spend on movies, clothes and food. We obviously have the infrastructure to support tourists. But why would a tourist come to our casino as oppose to Foxwoods or Atlantic City? What would make our casino so special?
How are we going to handle the increase in crime? What are we going to do about the proclivity of casinos to promote addiction? And it seems to me that it wouldn’t just be a problem with gambling but also drugs and alcohol.
We may have all of the same problems even if we vote a casino down if Revere or Lynn builds one. I would like to know if the legislature has allocated any resources to dealing with these issues. What are our local politicians game plans?
Has there been a successful casino that was put in an already functioning city?
These are the things I would like answered before we start spinning the wheel on an Eastie Casino.