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Two casinos? Twice as bad as one

January 30. 2014 11:43PM

So the Senate Ways and Means Committee thinks it has improved last year’s defeated casino gambling bill by doubling the number of casinos it allows. On the contrary, the Senate’s bill only doubles the negative impact that will be visited upon New Hampshire should casino gambling be legalized.

It is important to recognize that this bill came out of the Ways and Means Committee. That’s the committee tasked with raising state revenue. Casinos, after all, are coveted by politicians because they vacuum cash from the general population and shoot it directly into state coffers. All other stated reasons are secondary. And most of them are wrong.

Take, for example, the claim that casinos will bring jobs and economic growth. Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said this week, “this bill will drive the economy.” No, it won’t. It will siphon money out of the economy.

John Warren Kindt, professor emeritus of business administration at the University of Illinois, presented a report to Congress in 1994, “The National Impact of Casino Gambling Proliferation.” His study of the academic research led him to this conclusion: “The field research throughout the nation indicates that for every dollar the legalized gambling interests indicate is being contributed in taxes, it usually costs the taxpayers at least three dollars.”

Studies show that “the legalization of gambling activities eventually causes: (1) increased taxes, (2) a loss of jobs from the overall region, (3) economic disruption of other businesses, (4) increased crime and (5) large social-welfare costs for society in general and government agencies in particular.”

Casinos do not generate new money. They transfer money away from other activities, and they impose considerable social and financial burdens. Double the casinos, double the costs.

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