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Keller @ Large: Can Gambling Bill Deliver On Promise Of New Jobs?

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Gambling, Betting, Casinos

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WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The gambling bill promises to provide thousands of jobs across Massachusetts.

But can that promise be kept?

“In the short term there will be abundant jobs,” says Professor Richard McGowan of Boston College.

He is one of the nation’s leading experts on the gambling industry. He acknowledges that casinos will be a good deal for the workers who build them and the staffers who run them.

WBZ-TV’s Jon Keller Is At Large

“But there will also be cannibalization of other industries, other forms of entertainment will be cannibalized,” he says.

OK. But in the long term, will casinos provide net job growth, as its proponents claim?

“That all depends on whether the casino is successful or not, and right now if you went down to Atlantic City you’d see how many people are being laid off because Pennsylvania has put casinos in.”

What about Connecticut, which enjoyed a casino job boom in the early ’90s?

“They did very well for around 10-12 years while they had a monopoly. Now they’re not gonna have a monopoly and they’re being hurt and they’re cutting back all over the place.”

And with New Hampshire mulling a casino on our border at Rockingham Park, you wonder how that might impact our job gains.

But there’s no question, the Commonwealth will enjoy an immediate revenue windfall. Won’t that help the state create new jobs as well?

So the bottom line is, yes, the casino bill will create new jobs, in construction short-term, and inside the venues once they open a few years down the road. But will they be lasting, and competition proof? That appears to be a much riskier bet.

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