Friday, January 29, 2010

Gambling with our future

It seems that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe may be giving up on plans to build a casino in Middleboro and instead is considering building one here in Fall River.

Oh God haven't we been through this before?

According to SouthCoastToday.com the Wampanoag's feel that the "financially strapped city will be a more welcoming home for a future casino." Unfortunately Fall River is facing hard times and it looks like our new mayor is already on board.

"Right now, the city of Fall River has the second highest unemployment rate in the commonwealth of Massachusetts," Flanagan said. "So a gaming facility would put people to work of all skills levels and all education levels."

Oh dear, and just when I was starting to like Mayor Flanagan.

Of course Fall River HAS been through this before back in 1997 the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head wanted to build a casino in the city. When that failed to pass the House they then tried for a high stakes bingo hall that first failed to pass a city council vote and then failed to get enough votes in a special election.

I gladly voted against this 12 years ago and thought we put this to rest. Why is Fall River back on the radar? That's simple the Mashpee Wampanoag's think as a "financially strapped city" we'll do little to resist them. You know, this is exactly why we've been dealing with Hess all these years because they figured we could be exploited too.

I remember this the last time all the talk of the money it would bring and the jobs! Thing is most of the money and the jobs would be short term during construction, after that it was mostly part time stuff and very few good paying jobs. Where in the world would we stick a casino now? Originally the proposal was up on Airport Road, which would have meant very little trickle down for the rest of the city. People coming to gamble wouldn't be driving through Fall River and hitting our restaurants. They would just go directly there. What will be different this time?

If this really gains momentum we'll hear about all sorts of studies that show the benefits. Of course revenue will be the big magic one and jobs. They'll be talk about how this will help revitalize the city and be the cornerstone for tourism in the city. However there are also tons of studies that show increased crime rates, the introduction to organized crime, the devastating social toll caused by gambling addictions. In short something like this might bring a bit more revenue and a few more jobs but at what cost? And once you build it you can't go back!

Right now developers in New Bedford are already in the process of developing a downtown casino. Can this area really support TWO casinos that are THAT close? I recently linked to a post about the Harbour Mall which basically stated that after the Dartmouth Mall and the Swansea Mall opened up the Harbour Mall pretty became the area's second-rate mall. Well with Twin Rivers in Lincoln and Foxwoods not terribly far away and a proposed New Bedford casino are we going to end up with the Harbour Mall of casinos? Who will go to the second-rate casino? Oh that's right the people who live right next to it, which means the revenue your generating is really just coming out of your own economy anyway. It also means that all the social troubles are just yours too.

People who gamble are usually looking for a quick way to make money and wind up losing more than they win. I think the same can be said for communities who gamble on gambling.

7 comments:

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

Having this issue in my town of Middleboro for three years I can tell you that you're in for a frustrating time. Endless studies and speeches that tout every dime of benefit but not a single penny of cost. People will be chanting the jobs, jobs, jobs, mantra and exaggerating the average pay and quality. Then you'll get some prominent locals - all of whom have something to gain - that will start ripping the opposition apart with lies and innuendo.

Go casino - yippee.

Anonymous said...

It will bring jobs and won't blow up like LNG. Fall River can't afford to say no to everything all the time especially not with a 17% unemployment rate. When it comes to a casino I say bring it on!

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

Jobs will come from cannibalizing other jobs. Costs will exceed payments. You should read up on it some before you sign up.

Youth_in_Asia said...

The proposed site that the city is pushing is at the Industrial Park. I don't know details on the effects of existing businesses, but from a political standpoint, it makes sense. It makes sense because the city won't have to deal with neighbors doing the "NIMBY" thing as there are no homes abutting the area and no residences that really have to deal with traffic from this as the ramp to 24 is right next door.

The New Bedford proposals are a "one or the other" sort of deal... both wouldn't be built. Furthermore, the New Bedford proposals are contingent on state legislation which would allot either one or three casinos (depending on which bill passes) statewide. If the Wampanoags build in Fall River you can count on the fact that New Bedford is out as a possible location for a casino.

I'm no fan of the things, but the waterfront proposal "Canal Street Station" in New Bedford is far and away the best bet for the region given the way it blends with the city's urban fabric. look at the proposal at the developers site here: http://www.kgurbanadvisors.com/cannon_street_station.htm .

I don't like the Fall River proposal. I think it's sneaky, underhanded, and bad for attracting businesses like Nakona who want to use the park for its intended purposes.

Poker(PKR) said...

Nice Posting...

Lefty said...

I have to admit, as much as I am against casinos the Canal Street Station looks impressive and if we HAD to have something like this I'd certainly argue for something similar.

Anonymous said...

Casino jobs are good jobs. The average pay at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun is higher than the average pay in Fall River. The benefits are better too. Done right, bringing a casino into Fall River would be a huge boon to the local economy.