Thursday, June 21, 2012

Casino Opponents to Caesars and Suffolk Downs:"It's on."

The following press release was delivered to this morning from No Eastie Casino's Celeste Myers.

EAST BOSTON, MASS.— In living rooms and parks, community centers and church basements -- all across East Boston -- groups of neighbors are coming together around a single unifying idea: a casino at Suffolk Downs will permanently and negatively alter a community that has often been at the losing end of new developments and legislation – yet a community that over the last 20 years has been moving steadily toward “something better.” They have seen the $1 billion casino proposal Suffolk Downs and Caesars Entertainment have put forth and see right through the big promises and the fancy artist's renderings.

Two events in the next few days will feature the collective voice of neighbors who believe we can do better than a casino at Suffolk Downs. On Saturday at 10 a.m, casino opponents will participate in their third East Boston stand-out/visibility, this time in Orient Heights -- "ground zero" for the effects of a casino. And a Community Casino Meeting on Monday, June 25, will be the broadest assembly of Boston casino opponents yet. Residents from any and all impacted areas will gather in solidarity against this Trojan horse in our community, eager to counter the multi-million dollar PR campaign Caesars and Suffolk Downs have begun to mislead those who will be most affected by a casino. The meeting, sponsored by No Eastie Casino, will feature brief presentations about the process and casino proposal and enlist neighbors as volunteer foot soldiers in the fight. It will take place at the East Boston Social Centers, 68 Central Square, in East Boston, from 6-8 p.m.

Though it is being presented as a help to our neighborhood, a casino will be a Trojan horse, profiting mainly the wealthy corporate executives and leaving the city and our neighbors with all the problems:
Fewer Jobs — Every new slot machine kills 1-2 jobs per year because each machine removes more than $100,000 annually from the consumer economy. The East Boston casino proposal calls for 4,000-5,000 slot machines. [1]

Local Businesses Suffer — 66 percent of independent restaurants closed in Atlantic City after the casinos opened there [2], and a third of the city's retail businesses have since closed [3]. Casino owner Donald Trump famously said: "People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they lose customer dollars to the casinos."[4]

Crime Increases: After a 5-7-year honeymoon period in which crime stays the same or decreases slightly, rates of assaults, larcenies, burglaries, robberies, murders, and auto theft increase go up from 22-114 percent. [5]

Addiction and Bankruptcies Increase: Gambling addiction rates double in communities surrounding casinos, increasing from around 1-2 percent to 3-5 percent. [6] If the populations of Boston, Revere, Chelsea, and Winthrop see just a 1percent increase in gambling addiction, the casino would create 7,200 new problem gamblers – double the number of jobs the complex promises to create. Personal bankruptcies increase by more than 18 percent in surrounding communities. [7]

Traffic Increases: 10,000-15,000 new vehicles will be on our roads every day, further congesting an already unequipped Route 1A. The $40 million in "improvements" do not come close to meeting the infrastructure improvements needed to support a casino -- which would cost around $500 million, according to a study conducted by Seagull Consulting, for Sen. Anthony Petruccelli. [8]

Other Effects: Home values decrease, car insurance rates increase, real estate taxes decrease, predatory lending increases, and air pollution is worsened.

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?

It's time for the people to hear and share the truth Suffolk Downs and Caesars want to remain hidden. It's time for the concerns of residents of Boston and beyond to be heard and validated. This casino is not inevitable. The people have a say, and the people will not be silenced. In the end, truth will prevail.


1. 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.

2. Evelyn Nieves, “Our Towns: Taste of Hope at Restaurants Casinos Hurt,” New York Times, March 23, 1997, section 1, p. 39.

3. Robert Goodman, The Luck Business: The Devastating Consequences and Broken Promises of America’s Gambling Explosion (New York: Free Press, 1995), p. 23.

4. Interview with Donald Trump. "The Jackpot State", The Miami Herald, March 27, 1994

5. Grinols and Mustard download, p.14 Figure 6: Percentage increases calculated by dividing year one figures by year seven figures as reported by Grinols and Mustard

6. Welte, J. W., Wieczorek, W. F., Barnes, G. M., Tidwell, M.-C. O., & Hoffman, J. H. (2004). The relationship of ecological and geographic factors to gambling behavior and pathology. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20, 405-423.

7. The Personal Bankruptcy Crisis, 1997: Demographics, Causes, Implications & Solutions," SMR Research Corporation, 1997, p. 117.

8. Lynds, John. “Petruccelli: Put casino legislation in the hands of voters.” East Boston Times Free-Press. March 19, 2010.