Another View -- Paul Davies: Why casino gambling is a bad bet for New Hampshire
New Hampshire has wisely resisted past pressure to legalize casinos because it understands the economic and social costs outweigh the benefits. While that equation has not changed, lawmakers are once again considering a plan to allow one casino.
In the Northeast, especially, casinos in Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island are battling for market share. The addition of casinos in Massachusetts and New York will add to the glut. The crowded market leaves little room for New Hampshire to cash in. A Granite State casino will depend mainly to local repeat and problem gamblers.
Lawmakers are also considering online gambling and more lottery games. Despite raking in billions of dollars in casino revenues, many residents still await then-Gov. Ed Rendell’s 2004 promise that casinos would reduce property taxes by 23 percent.
Some see Delaware as the model for New Hampshire. Be careful what you wish for: Delaware was early to the game, legalizing slots at three racetracks starting in 1995. With little competition, tax revenues soared and eventually accounted for 8 percent of the state’s budget.
So, the Delaware casinos have gone from generating tax revenues to receiving a government bailout. The state is now scrambling to prop up an industry that produces nothing and entices residents to lose money.
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