SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 23, 2013

Mall slots parlor eyed

Proposal calls for 1,250 machines in Danvers

(Continued)

“There are a lot of questions to be decided,” said Bennett, who said he is concerned about increased traffic on Endicott and Purchase streets and the possible consequence of increased insurance rates for Danvers drivers. The town’s Police Department is understaffed, and Bennett has questions about how a casino might affect public safety.

The town may also see more tax dollars, but Bennett said he is concerned about balancing the town’s budget using a revenue stream that may fluctuate with the fortunes of the economy.

“It’s not prudent budgetary planning because you cannot predict it from year to year,” Bennett said.

Selectman Keith Lucy said the Liberty Tree Mall may not be an appropriate location because the mall site is so constrained.

“It’s already bound in all directions,” Lucy said.

Selectman Mike Powers also has reservations about the idea.

“I am not enamored of it having it at the Liberty Tree Mall,” Powers said, noting that the mall is a retail establishment near residential neighborhoods on Ash and Sylvan streets and near a large condominium complex on Abington Road. The town’s adult zone on Route 1 would be better suited to a slots parlor, he said.

“I haven’t made up my mind, but at first blush, there are better places than the Liberty Tree Mall,” Powers said.

Selectman Gardner Trask said there’s not enough information yet to form an opinion. There are questions about size, scope and details of the operation that have yet to be answered, he noted.

“I think we need to be thorough, especially for something as controversial as this,” Trask said.

Trask has taken issue with the Lucky 7 Arcade at the mall, a casino-style amusement for adults that Trask said is “dancing on the fringes of the law.” In the Lucky 7’s case, Trask said, the operation is awarding prizes for playing games of skill, in contrast to a slots parlor, which is a pure gambling operation.

Selectman Bill Clark declined to comment on the issue.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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