Letter: Hassan Is Wrong on Gambling
To the Editor:
During her visit to Claremont, Gov. Hassan said that casino gambling is a “way forward” to address local fiscal challenges such as those faced by Claremont (“Claremont Tells Hassan School Funding Still Key,” Dec. 29). This promise is entirely misleading because it takes at least two years from the effective date of casino legalization before any casino license or tax money can flow into state or local coffers.
This elapsed time is required if casinos are to be “highly regulated,” as Hassan has promised, to adopt regulations, complete background checks, select among competing casino bidders, secure local permits and conclude litigation. No state to have legalized casino gambling over the past 10 years has done it faster. Massachusetts, the state to have most recently legalized slot machine casinos, will require 2¼ years to issue the first casino license and 5½ years before the first casino tax revenue will flow. Even for those willing to accept the family breakdown, addiction, and crime caused by casinos, there will be no casino money available for the upcoming 2014-2015 state budget.
Hassan should also acknowledge the costly trade-offs associated with casinos. Former Gov. John Lynch’s Gaming Study Commission found that even a single casino as proposed for Salem would create an additional 10,000 problem gamblers and addicted gamblers in New Hampshire and cause 1,200 additional violent and property crimes each year. Gambling-addiction treatment programs, while vital, are utilized by only about 10 percent of gambling addicts.
Area residents can be grateful that all three of our region’s state senators, David Pierce, Bob Odell and Jeanie Forester, and most of our state House members have long opposed casinos.
I encourage area residents to contact Hassan at 603-223-8480, asking her consider the many available means other than gambling casinos to balance the upcoming state budget. Readers can learn more about why casinos are net economic and social negatives at www.NoSlots.com.
Chairman, Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling