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

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • 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...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...

  • AGAPANTHUS RISING

    2014.11.18
     @ Greenwich Water Club

    Like the Agapanthus flower, which starts as just a seed, we all have something to share with the world.  Sadly, we don't always nurture...

  • The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Junior League of Greenwich presents 2014 Enchanted Forest! Holiday Boutiques Gingerbeard Workshops Santa's Breakfast...

  • Junior League of Greenwich The Enchanted Forest

    2014.11.21
     @ Junior League of Greenwich

    The Junior League of Greenwich (JLG) will host its annual holiday fundraiser, The Enchanted Forest on Friday, November 21 through Sunday, November...


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