The Bay State's four Roman Catholic Bishops on Monday issued a statement calling for the repeal of the Massachusetts casino law, which hits the ballots in November.
Ballot Question 3 will ask whether to do away with the expanded 2011 law, though recent polls suggest voters are against repeal. A 'yes' vote would ban casinos and slot parlors in the state.
The bishops’ statement coincides with a series of Massachusetts Gaming Commission meetings on whether Wynn Resorts or Mohegan Sun will receive Greater Boston’s only casino license.
The statement was signed by Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley of Boston as well as Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, and Fall River Apostolic Administrator George Coleman.
Bishops point to the state's improved economic situation since the expanded law went into effect in 2011, and slams the gambling industry which they say "threatens local businesses, weakens the moral fabric of society, and fundamentally alters communities for decades to come."
"While the Catholic Church views gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment when done in moderation, expanded gaming in the Commonwealth opens the door to a new form of predatory gaming," bishops said in the statement. "We are concerned that the Commonwealth will be forced to rely on an unstable form of revenue, depending largely on those addicted to gambling. They are the citizens who are already among the ranks of the poorest in the community – the ones who can least afford to gamble."
Unemployment was high at 7.4 percents when the state sought new ways to increase revenue and create jobs. Bishops said thestate "is clearly more robust" with unemployment at 5.5 percent. The national average is 6.1 percent.
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