Bay Staters Have Spoken and They’re Ready to Bring Gambling Home: A Recent UMass Dartmouth Survey Shows Most are in Favor of In-State Casinos

Posted by erik devaney

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Massachusetts residents make more than 7 million visits to New England casinos ever year. And evidently, they are tired of trekking out-of-state in order to hit the slots, toss the dice and enjoy other games that – while risky – promise big cash rewards.

A recent state-wide public opinion survey from UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Policy Analysis (CFPA) shows that 56% of Bay Staters support the proposal of Governor Patrick and legislative leaders to authorize one slot parlor and three destination casinos. The survey, which included the opinions of 552 residents, found that residents in nearly every age, education, gender and income group had majorities supporting the plan. The only demographic that didn’t have a majority supporting the plan: residents with incomes of over $125K.

“It is clear from this survey and previous ones conducted by the CFPA, as well as polls conducted by other academic institutes and media outlets during that past several years, that the jury is in on expanded gaming,” said poll supervisor and CFPA director, Dr. Clyde W. Barrow. “Massachusetts residents want it; they support it; and they believe it provides significant fiscal and economic benefits to the Commonwealth.”

Residents who took part in the opinion poll were also asked questions about the possible impacts of opening casinos in Massachusetts. 73% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the current proposal would generate tax revenue for the state, while 72% agreed or strongly agreed that the proposal would create new jobs for state residents.

“I go to Foxwoods three days a week… and they have at least five thousand full-time jobs,” professional poker player and Plymouth resident, Kevin Braun, told New England Post. “Other than the obvious benefits for a poker player like me, the proposal accomplishes three things: it creates a massive number of permanent jobs, it creates a huge amount of tax revenue, and it allows consenting adults to do what they want with their money without having to drive to New York, New Hampshire or Connecticut.”

Rich Benson of Woburn agrees with Braun. While Benson works full-time as an accountant, he makes the occasional weekend trip out-of-state to casinos. “I absolutely love the idea,” he said. “Having casinos in Massachusetts would bring in so much business and it would keep Massachusetts residents from having to go so far to gamble.”

Of course, not everyone in the Bay State thinks that opening up three casinos and a slot parlor would be such a winning idea. The UMass Dartmouth survey did show that 51% of respondents thought that the proposal would increase gambling addiction in the state, while 32% of respondents thought that it would degrade quality of life.

“The last thing Massachusetts needs is the rich [casino owners] getting richer while capitalizing off of the poor and stupid during an economic crisis,” Boston resident, Andy Yi, told New England Post.

The debate over whether or not casinos should be allowed in Massachusetts has been raging for over a decade. These recent findings show that public support for casinos is on the upswing. In 2010, a UMass Dartmouth poll indicated that only 53% of residents supported gaming expansion; now that figure has jumped to 56%.

So, New England Post community, what do you make of the UMass Dartmouth survey and the three-casino/one-slot parlor proposal?  Leave a comment below!


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Posted by erik devaney on Sep 29 2011. Filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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