Wednesday, January 24, 2007

NO to Slot Gambling (unless ya wants ta destroy the County)

Effective Tuesday, January 23rd, passports are required to enter the United States by air. Americans traveling by air to Canada, Mexico or Bermuda now must carry a passport, unless you do not intend it to be round trip.

Good thing Washington County doesn’t rely on an airport – we’d be out of business. But wait! The land and sea rules are scheduled to go into effect in January of 2008. Do you think Lobster crews will be required to carry passports?

Kind of makes one wish the promoters of the Calais Racino had been forthcoming with their business plan. Wonder where they expect to get their gamblers?

Developers claim to be planning to invest $150-million in a complex – Track, convention center, port facilities for a 1,500 passenger cruise ship, and hotel. Two thousand people a day would be needed to make the venture profitable – think of the ecological impact.

On average gamblers drop $500; $10-mil plus interest a year over 15 years; 20,000 losers a year before operating costs and profit – that’s 55 Washington County losers per day.

Does anyone believe Canadians really going to go through the hassle of getting a passport to play a computerized slot machine? Bangor boasts 2,000 people a day to support a $90 million investment.

If LNG is supposed to threaten the waterway, what will a cruise ship and waste products from 730,000 gamblers per? Bangor had their track, convention areas and infrastructure – so environmental concern was not an issue.

Of course, there is the possibility the tribes – and those who signed the petition – anticipate Washington County will supply the losers.

Can you envision Ross Perot style loud sucking sound of economic resources being drained away from Washington County?

But hey! Don’t pay me no mind. I said Bush would screw-up and to vote for him – so I could see if I was right. Let the Tribes have their Racino. I want to see if I’m right.

Actually, I want to see if my July 6th, 2005 column was correct. Will the same thing happen here that happened in nearly half the other communities which approved gambling?

Quick recap: Forty-two percent of counties with gambling experience job loss; gambling profits represent a substitution effect and were diverted from local retail spending; these counties had a 14 percent increase in bankruptcy – not to worry, Bush changed the law, bankruptcy is no longer an option; and there were increase in violent crimes. Racino proponents have had 18 months to refute the facts – they couldn’t – like Bush, they ignore reality and escalate their failed ideas.

“An Act to Authorize a Tribal Commercial Track and Slot Machines in Washington County” should be entitled, “An Act to Authorize a finalization of the Economic destruction of Washington County.”

But Hey, go ahead, prove me wrong. If I’m wrong, the economic prospects for the county will increase by more than the approximate $43 million a year boast the LNG facility will provide. I could get into that. On the other hand, without people we could be a wind farm.


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