Keller @ Large: DeLeo Talks Casino Gambling In Massachusetts

BOSTON (CBS) – The house has voted to roll the dice on a new measure that would legalize several new casinos here in Massachusetts.

WBZ’s Jon Keller recently spoke to House Speaker Robert DeLeo about what the bill could mean for Massachusetts.

By a 123-32 veto-proof vote, the House approved last week the construction of three  casinos and one slot parlor in Massachusetts.

The Bay State would take charge 25% tax on casino earnings. Other states, like Illinois (34% tax on casino revenues) and Pennsylvania (55% tax on slots revenues) take a bigger cut.

Part 1:

Some say we’re leaving millions of dollars on the table. Why?

“Not at all. I find that if you even take a look at Rhode Island, for instance. Their tax structure was similar to that (in Illinois and Pennsylvania). Now what is Twin Rivers facing? They’re almost facing bankruptcy,” said DeLeo. “So what we wanted to do, we wanted to make sure we had two things: that we got a fair take relative to money coming in to the Commonwealth, while at the same time letting those folks have the opportunity to make further investments in their facilities as well.”

“It’s really a fine line and I hear you, but our studies have shown, that have come back by the experts, that say if you tax them too heavily that they’re not going to prosper in their businesses, which in a relatively short period of time may not even stay open,” DeLeo continued.

Part 2:

In 5-10 years, if it turns out that casino gambling is not the net job creator lawmakers thought it would be, is there any way out?

“The way the legislation reads, it doesn’t state that there has to be three casinos, it says up to three casinos. So, we allow the commission to be appointed, and they will decide the economic factors and the application process in terms of whether who’s ever making applications commit to Massachusetts, whether they’re viable options for us, for them to come into the state and do business,” said DeLeo. “If they can’t show they have the fiscal wherewithal, then this does not happen.”

“Massachusetts, Jon, appears to be a very fertile ground for gambling,” DeLeo continued.

More from Jon Keller
  • Full of beans

    “Massachusetts, Jon, appears to be very fertile ground for gambling,” DeLeo stated. He left out “and corruption.”

  • Laughable..

    ..when Speaker DeLeo characterized the conviction of his predecessor as being a “short-term blemish.” About as “short-term” as petrified wood.

  • Middleboro Remembers

    House Speaker “Racino” DeLeo has spent far too much time closeted with the Gambling Industry and Lobbyists and needs to inform himself.

    Twin Rivers DID file for bankruptcy and is about to emerge, having rid itself of greyhound racing (which it was subsidizing), extended hours to 24/7/365 which their host community overwhelmingly opposed in a referendum.

    Some may remember that the argument for SLOTS was to ‘Save Racing.”

    Where have we heard that before?

    Please note that when a bankruptcy court and the Rhode Island legislature rescinds a vote of a host community, the means that local control is meaningless. It could easily happen

    in Massachusetts.

    The hours of alcohol service were also extended, surely making innocent people into targets for drunk drivers.

    In the just passed legislation, FREE ALCOHOL is included, just as last year because drunks gamble more – just what the Industry wants.

    The hours were reduced from last year’s – which was initially 24/7/365.

    In this current version, Slot Barns may continue to serve until 2 AM which puts local establishments at a disadvantage.

    Let’s stop kidding ourselves that these are going to be elegant facilities.

    The minimum investment requirement makes these “Slot Barns,” pure and simple, designed to get a patron in his seat and keep him there feeding money into the reverse ATM machines and removing discretionary income from the local economy.

    Unfortunately, Jon Keller didn’t ask if House Speaker “Racino” knows what this

    will cost the Commonwealth and has refused to conduct an Independent Cost

    Analysis, such as our neighbors to the north, New Hampshire conducted and


    “A 2010 report by the New Hampshire Gambling Commission concluded that adding one casino (in New Hampshire) would raise $219 million in state revenue, but the total social cost would be $287.7 million: a net drain of $68.7 million.”

    There are additional flaws contained within the currently passed legislation.

    What a shame Jon didn’t ask about those.

    Or about this:
    Genting Connected to Islamic Extremists?

  • Matt

    I wonder how the vote would turn out if they knew that one of the casino’s was destined for Weston or Brokline or God forbid Martha’s Vinyard.

    • tsal

      Matt they don’t even like cell towers in those towns – or bicycle lanes for fear some riff raff will bike in and stay :)

  • Middleboro Remembers

    Matt, You sure got that right!

    Slot Barns only want to locate in communities that are…..the poorest
    in the Commonwealth.

    Let’s be honest about this. This is a regressive tax that preys on the

    There was a reason Mega Casinos were located in Atlantic City.

    It’s interesting to note that when the referendum passed, it was preceded
    by a referendum for statewide casinos that was defeated.
    It successfully disenfranchised the poor.

    NO ONE wants a Slot Barn for a neighbor. Do you?

    Opposition grows exponentially when it is proposed in YOUR community.

    I watched the Folly of the Senate ‘debate’ in 2010 and listened in horror
    to the words of Senator “NIMBY” Hart who supported Slot Barns as long
    as they were somewhere in Middleboro or that town somewhere in western Massachusetts,

    Amidst this Folly, I requested the municipal lottery purchases from DOR.
    It’s a stark reminder of the demographics.

    One of the arguments used in Middleboro to oppose the CPA (Community
    Preservation Act) was that people couldn’t afford it – while the lottery figures
    indicated that town wide lottery sales were $16 million the previous year.

    What is disappointing is Jon Keller’s inability to ask substantive questions.

    • The CPA should be eliminated

      The Community Preservation Act, now there’s a loser. This has turned into nothing other than a slush fund for special interest groups.

      • The CPA fund should be eliminated

        In my town the CPA fund has been used by special interest groups to rehab buildings that aren’t town owned, meanwhile there is a proposal being kited here by town officals to outsource police and fire dispatching duties to other towns so our police station can be closed except for eight hours per day because this town is strapped for cash. Bizarre to say the least.

      • Middleboro Remembers

        Affluent communities jumped on board pretty quickly and it has been an important method of accomplishing its goals.

        In the past, Middleboro has borrowed money, juggled and sought funding from non-profits that have pooled resources to fund significant purchases.

        Far-sighted communities recognize the importance of CPA.

        I’m sorry you don’t.

  • Keller @ Large: Robert DeLeo Talks Casino Gambling In … « kieshamanchesterl
  • chilitokid

    What I don’t understand is if you want to gamble why not just take a trip to Las Vegas….plane fare is cheap and so are the hotel rooms. Now, if you can’t afford the trip then its simple you can’t afford to gamble. Did you know that most progressive slot payouts are made over 20 years? Most don’t.
    As previous posters have said these casinos will be in the slums and I’d love to see how the ‘pretty people’ would react to one in their back yard.
    I’ve gambled for years. I’ve won a lot and lost a lot but I’ve been one of the lucky ones who have made a living off of gambling for the last 5 years. Its a hell of a way to make a living.
    Here’s a lock bet – I’ll make a million faster proving bigfoot exists before I’ll make a million in a casino…bet your life on it.

  • FireGuyFrank

    I don’t believe casinos are the answer for Massachusetts. Once again the Bay State is at least 20 years too late for casinos to have an impact. We don’t need more casinos.

    That said, I find it pretty funny (in a sad way) that Speaker DeLeo thinks that if these three casinos don’t work out, the appointed commissioners will vote to eliminate their positions by elimating “up to three” casinos.

    It won’t happen. In fact, how much you want to bet (no pun intended) that the casinos will be built such that gamblers will have to take toll roads?

  • out-of-luck

    These proposed casinos are like Obama’s initiative to increase the tax rate on millionaires, akin to putting more water into a bucket with a hole in it. How about trimming the size of our state and federal government, how about cutting spending?

    • Middleboro Remembers


      Instead of a knee-jerk response such as yours, how about an honest discussion about the services government should provide?

      Republicans in Congress tried to punish the FAA and instead allowed revenues to go uncollected. They’ve slashed the budgets of some agencies so that they are unable to adequately accomplish their mandated responsibilities. And now Republicans are holding the Postal Service hostage.

      Several things set the U.S. apart from other nations: free public education and the Postal Service are high on that list.

      Shall we consider the grandstanding Romney did? The infrastructure repairs that went unattended? The unfunded pension/retirement benefits that was ignored?

      In a sleight of hands, Romney significantly raised fees which constitutes an increase in taxes and in some cases a severe economic penalty to many.

      Generous tax cuts for the wealthy were passed. Corporate loopholes allow Big Corporations to escape paying their fair share. Even Warren Buffett pays a smaller percentage than wage earners pay.

      President Clinton and Vice President Gore left office with budget surpluses that would have allowed the U.S. to be debt-free within 5 years and with full employment. Imagine what that would have accomplished.

      You might find this interesting:

      States That Cut The Most Spending Have Lost The Most Jobs

      Let’s not digress from the discussion about the Predatory Gambling that robs from the poor and rewards the already wealthy.

      • FireGuyFrank

        Actually, the US Postal Service is paid for by its own revenues — or lack thereof. No tax dollars are spent on the USPS.

        I don’t disagree with much else, MR, but I will say this about Warren Buffett: there is nothing to prevent him from writing a check to the United States Treasury, or the local tax departments where he lives. Waiting for Congress to act is not really stepping up.

      • tsal

        middleboro remembers, great comments throughout!

      • out-of-luck

        Revenues from casinos will be used to feed the state bureaucracy, my taxes and fees won’t be going down. Obama’s plan to “tax the rich” will play well on Main Street but is nothing other than a temporary fix without massive cuts in government spending.

        This blog continues to knee-jerk all over the place.

  • tsal

    Well now it seems that everyone here is in agreement for the most part and maybe for the first time. If the few here who tend to have differing opinions have found common ground on this, I am wondering if that holds true throughout the commonwealth. Do most oppose the casinos? It brings me back to Jon’s initial post on this topic as to whether lawmakers will listen to us before the vote.

    • Middleboro Remembers

      This bill was crafted behind closed doors with Gambling Industry input with only phony debate on the House floor. Votes were carefully crafted behind closed doors.

      “Senate President Terry Murray admitted in a speech last week reported by the State House News Service, casinos pose a serious threat to existing businesses and cultural institutions.”

      Why would she support this?

      The current legislation included FREE ALCOHOL because drunks continue to gamble more than they can afford. It also makes each of us an innocent target.

      Here are the facts about the industry’s alcohol policies:

      ◦Not all casinos provide free alcohol to their customers. Of the 22 states with commercial casino gaming, casinos in only 13—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota and West Virginia—are permitted to offer free alcohol to their patrons.
      posted here:

      At the Democratic Convention:
      “A majority of delegates stood and approved a resolution to oppose legalization of slot machines and any similar efforts to promote addictive and predatory gambling as a means to raise state revenues.”

      Resolution posted here:

      Governor “Slot Barns” agreed to support an Independent Cost Analysis, just as New Hampshire did and snookered his supporters…..until he was re-elected. In November, he met with Native Americans and made promises for a Slot Barn in Freetown. Another back room deal?

      Former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger has written extensively about the glaring flaws contained in the current legislation. Those flaws haven’t been corrected.

      Unions falsely believe this will provide jobs for them instead of the low wage reality.


      “The wages are in line with most other casinos in California and, for most employees, higher than the $8-an-hour minimum wage mandated by the state.”

      Or Atlantic City:
      “He said his current $5.26 hourly wage would be rolled back to $4.50 under the casinos’ proposal. In addition, he would have to pay $1.20 per hour toward his health care and 83 cents for pension and severance benefits. In all, he estimates he would lose more than $5,000 in income annually.”

      Sands, Bethlehem created 780 jobs in spite of rosy promises. That’s about what you can expect from a Slot Barn, not the thousands Speaker “Racino” promotes.

      Will this destroy tourism?

      “Solid data show that when casinos come to heritage tourism towns, visitation to the historic resource plummets as it did in Vicksburg, Miss., where 40 percent of the historic downtown is now shuttered.”

      Governor “Slot Barns” promised to bring transparency, yet participated on back
      room deals.

      Who is listening?

      • tsal

        Again – thank you for the great, informative information. I have not spent a lot of time looking into the problems with casinos although I’ve been against them.

  • beaches

    Lawmakers in this state don’t care what we the people want, it’s what they want.
    Have you noticed we don’t have a say in a lot of things in this state?
    since the economy is so bad, who is going to go to these casinos, the people that work in them?? There are a lot of people that are very delusional thinking they will hit it big and use their whole pay to try. Pretty soon people wil be commiting more crimes to get money to gamble. People can laugh at this but you wait and see. This state is just opening a can of worms.

    • Middleboro Remembers

      When this Folly began in Middleboro, many of us knew little about
      Gambling and Slot Barn and Indian Slot Barns.

      Our household has never purchased a scratch ticket because if we
      want to give to our local government, we write a check to Friends of
      the Library or such. And who really wants to waste money?

      Once you begin to share information and your circle of friends in opposition
      expands, there’s a great deal of information if one chooses to look.

      There are a lot of great books available – I’m reading a book by David Cay
      Johnston titled “Temples of Chance How America Inc Bought Out Murder
      Inc to Win Control of the Casino Business.”

      Professor Robert Goodman wrote “The Luck Business,” has spoken numerous times on Beacon Hill.

      “The Money and the Power” by Sally Denton and Roger Morris provides
      a history of Las Vegas, thoroughly researched and it explains the Cuba

      “Jackpot Harrah’s Winning Secrets for Customer Loyalty” by Robert L.
      Shook is revealing.

      “Boardwalk of Dreams, Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America,”
      written by Bryant Simon, who grew up in Southern Jersey caught my
      attention with his post about Niagara:

      posted here:

      Grinols presented a long list of crimes, pathologies and social problems in which Nevada is first or among the leaders in the nation, including first in suicide (double the national average), divorce, gambling addictions, child-abuse deaths and per capita bankruptcy, to cite a few. He said crime associated with gambling is not explained merely by the fact that it draws large numbers of people.

      His research compared crime at Las Vegas to that at high-tourist destinations not associated with gambling – Branson, Mo.; and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

      Las Vegas’ crime rate is 1,040 percent higher than Branson’s and 15.7 times higher than Bloomington’s, Grinols reported, although both destinations draw far more visitors per resident than does Las Vegas.

      A similar pattern is found when comparing crime rates at large tourist destinations in the National Park System to Las Vegas.”
      posted here:

      Christinia Binkley’s book “Winner Takes All” was on the bestseller list. One of her most striking revelations was that Harrah’s determined that 90% of their profits originated from 10% of their patrons and then targeted them.

      Most of this books are out of print, but available at your local library of through Alibris.

      For more current books, here are a few:

      Massachusetts prostituted itself real cheap.

      After Ohio voters said NO to casino gambling 4 times, $50 million was spent to persuade them otherwise. Who would think their money was wasted?

      The legislation was written by the Gambling Industry to benefit the Gambling Industry.

      In Pennsylvania, $60 million was spent and the legislation was passed at midnight on the 4th of July, without addressing the issue of children and pets being abandoned in vehicles because lawmakers were so poorly informed about the perils of Gambling Addiction.

      And don’t forget to consider the information on the United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts web site. Add your name to the email list.

      Thanks for the audience. Now please tell your elected officials – that includes Governor Slot Barns.

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