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Casino Won’t Bring Back Vital, Diverse City; Still Time to Reject Casinos?

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Casino Won’t Bring Back Vital, Diverse City

 

In reply to E. Anthony Mosio’s letter to the editor [July 24, 2014] about the good things MGM will do for Springfield, people forget what casinos are all about: gambling, making billions of dollars for the likes of Sheldon Adelson and Donald Trump out of people who are basically throwing their money into slot machines. That’s the bottom line. And they don’t make those billions giving money away.

I realize Springfield is hurting. When they sent our factories abroad with free trade, they tore the heart out of this once wonderful city. When I moved here 30 years ago, there was still a vital downtown, with stores like Steiger’s and J. Fox and wonderful restaurants, a great bookstore, an art supply store. There were so many companies to work for.

I have never seen a city with so many beautiful houses. And the parks!

Gambling is not going to bring back Springfield. It didn’t bring back Atlantic City, which is now scrambling to find other ways to attract tourists, with casinos going under left and right. Anyone who’s visited that city will tell you it’s casinos surrounded by slums. Most other businesses were driven out.

The last thing Springfield needs is another source of addiction. People now have to travel to Connecticut. Casinos in Massachusetts will suck a whole new crowd into their tentacles. That’s what convenience gambling is all about. And gambling is every bit as lethal as heroin and crack. Casinos are a gateway to online gambling, which will follow close behind as it has in other states. People can go broke in the comfort of their own homes. Then where will Springfield be?

This is what [Mayor Domenic] Sarno et al. think will bring back Springfield? It’s a quick, temporary fix that will do more harm than good. We need a plan B, just like the plan B Atlantic City is grappling for. What about changing U.S. policy and keeping our jobs at home? Mayor Curtatone of Somerville, outspoken against casinos, has done wonders for that city by encouraging local business development. We should send Sarno there to spend a day with him.

Still Time to Reject Casinos?

On behalf of Repeal the Casino Deal and No Casino Springfield, we are writing to sincerely thank the residents of Springfield, Northampton, Amherst and the rest of Western Mass. for their overwhelming support in the effort to keep Western Mass. casino-free. As you may have heard, the State Supreme Judicial Court decided 7-0 to allow the casino repeal question on the ballot in November. This victory would not have been possible were it not for the efforts of the thousands of Western Mass. residents who signed the petition (1,644 certified in Longmeadow alone, and over 2,000 in Springfield), and the many volunteers who helped collect those signatures. We were fortunate to have volunteers from retirement communities, local religious groups, and concerned citizens from all ages and walks of life, from Springfield and surrounding communities, and from across the political spectrum.

It is very important to underscore the fact that the mitigation deals between the surrounding communities and MGM will not come close to covering the costs our town will incur because of the casino. There is no windfall to be had, as was highlighted by the comments of two Longmeadow Select Board members in a recent article in the Republican.

Thanks to Western Mass. and many others in communities around the state, we will be able to stand up to the casino industry and its lobbyists who pushed through this short-sighted and ill-conceived legislation. Please join us in voting Yes on Question 3 in November. Fix the Casino Mess. Vote Yes!

Correction: The photo that ran with “40 Whacks” in last week’s issue was not from the Tanglewood production of Lizzie Borden, but from Chester Theater’s A Number.

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