Casino debate is under way, and so is war of words - Metro US

Casino debate is under way, and so is war of words

As casinos and slot machines become closer to a reality in Massachusetts, a group of opponents had harsh words for the bill that made its way to the state Senate yesterday.

“Casinos are not the goose that laid the golden egg,” said state Sen. Susan Fargo. “It’s a big, fat, predatory vulture.”

The debate on expanded gambling was expected to continue today and possibly into next week. The bill calls for three casinos and one slot machine parlor to be built in the Bay State and proponents have said it would bring much needed jobs and revenue.

While Senate President Therese Murray had indicated that the bill would likely pass, that obstacle didn’t stop opponents.

“We’re here to say casinos are not inevitable,” said state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, one of five senators to speak against the bill yesterday.

The fear among the senators was the impact casinos would have on the communities they represent.

“Cities would see increased crime, foreclosures … increased traffic, domestic violence and not just the host communities,” said state Sen. James Eldridge

Tom Larkin, president of United to Stop Slots Mass., said he and other opponents were “dismayed” by a lack of answers from state officials during a meeting they had last week.

“An independent cost-benefit analysis has never been done … therefore, they cannot provide straight answers to basic questions.”

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