So there it was this morning. The Globe headline proclaiming that the legislature has overwhelmingly approved a plan for two casinos to come to Massachusetts.
Even though I don't like gambling, and therefore don't do it, I'll admit that there are multiple sides to all this. If a resort can be built up to become a legitimate entertainment hub (i.e. Mohegan Sun with a WNBA team, big-ticket concerts, conventions, etc.) I can see the upside. I also *get* the idea that Mass. residents cross state lines to gamble all the time, and throw plenty of good money down someone else's drain by doing it.
But what worries me about that argument is that by placing casino gambling much closer, you're just making it a lot easier for those people to throw that money away. And yes, I'll reference my earlier posts about fuzzy accounting here -- if you are a habitual blackjack player at Foxwoods, and you really think you're *up* on the ledger sheet, I have a bridge I can sell you. (And yes, that means I've got a lot of bridges to sell, because I'm still waiting to meet the repeat gambler who is down).
If it's done right, casinos could bring a lot of spillover revenue from the entertainment and services that could spring up alongside them. But my hunch is that the overall cost to society in terms of bankruptcies, family dissolutions, crimes, and substance abuse all fueled by the impact of nearby casinos is going to outweigh whatever good comes in.