Slots at Home?



Should some of our legislators have their way, our fair state—once known for supplying arms for our military in every war since the Revolution, and later as the insurance capital of the U.S.—could soon rival Reno as our country’s gambling capital.

When Congress opened Pandora’s box by passing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, only Nevada and New Jersey allowed casinos. There are now thirty-nine states awash with a 1,000 casinos, just half of them Indian. Connecticut, with its endemic budget crises, was quick to hop on board. Foxwood and Mohegan Sun, strategically located between New York and Boston, became the world’s largest casinos, their slots feeding state coffers $430 million a year. It was not to last.

There were only eight casinos in the Northeast when Foxwood opened in 1992, seven of them in Atlantic City. As long as Connecticut casinos enjoyed a monopoly, they could coin money. Now there are fifty-six, and a possible seventy with pending proposals. Competition from slots parlors and casinos in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island has cut deeply into casino revenue here, and contributions to the state have dropped to just $300 million. Foxwood has defaulted on its bonds and is still in debt.

This may seem like good news for people alarmed by the mass appeal of today’s highly efficient electronic slots designed to maximize betting speed and take. But besides the enormous social cost of gambling, evidence of its economic cost is found in the dramatic rise in arrests for embezzlement. Since Foxwood opened, arrests have increased 400% to ten times the national average, leading a columnist to label southeastern Connecticut the Embezzlement Capital of the World. One embezzler was Ledyard’s tax collector who stole $320,000 to cover her losses playing Foxwood slots.

Moreover, because of lost revenue from out-of-state betters, the state has turned to its own citizens to fill the gap, leading weak-minded legislators to devise other schemes to milk those who can least afford it through widened availability of slots.

Spearheading an effort to counter pressure to expand gambling is Robert Steele, former U.S. Representative for eastern Connecticut. He is sounding the alarm about what the powerful gaming lobby is up to, especially its effort to legalize Internet gambling, and has come to Greenwich twice to deliver impassioned warnings of the lobby’s nefarious plans.

The threat is real. According to Steele, in the waning hours of the 2013 budget session legislative leaders slipped in legalization of Keno, i.e., online betting, without exposing the rider to appropriate committees or public debate until the day of the vote. It made Keno available in every living room, dorm, bar and coffee shop. And a task force is expected to recommend that the General Assembly vote to legalize video slots in Bradley Teletheater in Windsor Locks, Sports Haven in New Haven and Shoreline Star Greyhound Park in Bridgeport. This would constitute the largest expansion of legalized gambling here since Lowell Weicker opened the door for our two mega-casinos.

It will be a tragedy for Connecticut and our way of life if through greed and lack of political courage our legislators and the Governor’s office turn to gambling to answer our fiscal problems. The real price is far higher than the politicians will admit.

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

    Meet Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese & Take Home a Signed Copy of His New Book! Kevin is a holistic health practitioner,...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Verismo - Opera Arias and Ensembles

    2014.09.26
     @ Round Hill Community Church

    Music from the Heart at Round Hill  “Verismo – Arias and Ensembles,” an opera concert, will bring drama and passion...

  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
     @ Richards

  • Curiosity Concerts Season Opening: SONIC ESCAPE

    2014.09.27
     @ Greenwich Library Cole Auditorium

    The Greenwich Arts Council's Curiosity Concerts opens its second season of free classical music concerts for families on Saturday, Sept. 27,...

  • Bistro Versailles Wine Dinner

    2014.09.29
     @ Bistro Versailles

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other...

  • Joie Special Shopping Event

    2014.09.30
     @ Joie

    Joie invites you to a special shopping event! Enjoy wine & hor d'oeuvres while shopping 20% off your purchase Enter to win a...


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