, Salem, MA


January 15, 2014

Watson: Casinos are a bad deal for taxpayers


Furthermore, like Wal-Mart and malls, casinos cannibalize the jobs and business enterprises around them. To a large extent, again over time, constructing a casino economy simply moves the existing money around. Instead of citizens spending in the region’s small restaurants, clubs and shops, they leave their dollars in the casino complex. Relying on casinos ultimately undermines true economic health and sustainability.

Again, the politicians who support casinos do not want us to think about what their cost-benefit ratio is six, eight, or ten years out.

There is irony here. Government initiatives often have some negative — but unintended — side effects. With casinos, however, the state puts itself in the business of deliberately designing damage to the people. The state will need many people to patronize the casinos, be credulous, irresponsible, dysfunctional, or even compulsive, so that they will lose large sums of money.

It is an ugly sight to see the government, with the aid of psychologist-designed slot machines, plan an ambush on its citizens — especially the ones who can least afford gambling. For the taxpayers, casinos are a money-loser. And for all of us as just plain people, they pull society collectively in the direction of dysfunction.

Brian T. Watson is a Salem News columnist. Contact him at

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