Keller @ Large: Casino Warning Signs

BOSTON (CBS) – Supporters say casinos and slots will create new jobs in Massachusetts.

Opponents say the social and economic costs will outweigh the benefits.

Nationwide, casinos are not doing well.

In part because of the weak economy, but also because if you look around the country, it seems the era of booming casino revenues may have come and gone.

Just last week, Mohegan Sun reported a five-percent drop in slot revenues over last year.

WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller Is At Large

Connecticut neighbor Foxwoods is down five-and-a-half percent, both feeling the heat from a huge slot parlor at New York’s Yonkers Raceway.

That pattern of competitive cannibalizing is being repeated around the country.

Indiana casino revenues are at a three-year low, and they’re bracing for a 30-percent drop when Ohio opens new casinos over the border.

Experts in Illinois warned of a casino revenue plunge when the state banned smoking, a ban that would apply to any new Massachusetts casinos.

Nevada’s been courting non-gambling revenues for years now, but while visitor traffic is up, casino revenues keep falling.

And nowhere is the gambling balloon more deflated than in Atlantic City, where gaming proceeds have declined for 35 consecutive months.

Experts there predict the year will end with revenues off a staggering 40-percent from their 2006 peak.

And even if an economic recovery leaves gamblers with more disposable income, they won’t necessarily be spending it at casinos.

Among the fastest growing forms of betting these days are online wagering and smart phone gambling.

More from Jon Keller
  • B

    Why don’t we let it be up to the casino owner to decide if it a sound financial idea to run a casino or not ? Why present it as if a drop in revenue somehow becomes a tip on the nay scale

    The problem is and has always been, that this very puritan state, will not allow gambling within state lines.

    This state somehow still manages to live in the 1600’s and get away with it.

    Casinos brings jobs. Casinos brings state revenue in terms of taxes on winnings. Even with this 5% drop in revenue it is still revenue to the state. It is still jobs to the state

    Casinos brings crime ? perhaps, but not to worry on that front. We have 100’s of detail cops sitting at cones here there and everywhere, who I am sure will love to gig of sitting at a casino instead.

  • FireGuyFrank

    Does the US, the northeast in particular, need yet another casino with slot machines and poker tables? Really — I mean REALLY need another one.

    If Massachusetts is going to create jobs and spark some economic growth through “other people’s money”, by which I mean folks who live outside the Bay State spending money inside the state, then there has to be something new. It has to be different.

    I don’t know what that new something is. Perhaps folks have ideas they can share. But could there be a new amusement park with top notch stage for major acts? How about looking at the beach areas. Could there be a “boardwalk” akin to Ocean City, MD or Virginia Beach, VA?

    I’m not sure another casino will do anything for a state that has lost another representative in the US House. We need something better.

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  • Suffolk Downs Neighbor

    Faneuil Hall gets more visitors than Disney World, according to US News and World Report (2009). The tourists won’t be coming to Boston for the casinos… the casinos are coming to Boston for the tourists…
    While the bars and restaurants in the North End and Seaport District will be required to comply with restrictive state laws and local ordinances, the casinos will enjoy an unfair competitive advantage because they will be business partners with the state… the state is going to allow them to serve free alcohol, remain open 24 hours and get this, provide LOANS to people so they can keep on gambling…
    CT has a higher budget deficit, income and gas taxes than we do… Gambling hasn’t worked anywhere else it’s been tried…
    What can possibly go wrong here?
    — John Ribeiro

  • Dave_D

    Two words for anyone thinking that casinos are a good idea: Atlantic City.

    Anyone not understanding the comment hasn’t been there (or slept on the drive to the casinos on the Boardwalk).

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