Holliston Green Communities Forum now on HCAT!

Foxborough Shares Its Casino Lessons

by Paul Saulnier
March 15, 2013

Residents of Foxborough organized to stop the placement of a casino in their town. They came to Holliston to tell us what casinos really mean to a small town.

Milford resident Ken Rocket of Casino Free Milford opened the forum with information about the opposition to a casino in his town and invited everyone to attend Selectmens' meetings there (wear red to show solidarity).

Stephanie Crimmins was one of the principle opponents of a casino in her town of Foxborough. In her professional life she was a market analyist of casino stocks and was eminently qualified to see behind all the rhetoric from casino advocates.

Representative Carolyn Dykema attended the meeting as did Foxborough Selectman Ginny Coppola, seen behind Carolyn, who voted against allowing a casino in Foxborough and was attending the forum as a private citizen.

Senator Karen Spilka's aid was on hand to answer questions as well.

Crimmin's slide show related her experience and research into casinos and their affect on local communities. Through her slide show she presented information on the impact of the casinos in Connecticut.

Stephanie quoted Mr. Wynn, owner of the largest casino in Las Vegas: "If you want to make money in a casino, own one"

According to Crimmins, advocates of casinos claim that gambling is a small part of the operation and is second to the hotels, shops, and restaurants. Her research shows otherwise.

 

The majority of jobs created by casinos pay below the poverty line. Workers can't afford housing in the area so they rent rooms in houses converted to hold them. Their kids then enroll in the schools, the houses get run down, and neighborhood values drop, according to Crimmins.

Before casinos opened in Connecticut, there was one addiction treatment center. Now there are 17, according to Crimmins. Schools had to hire many more teachers who spoke languages to accommodate the children.

The concern here is what happens to all the promises if the casino goes bankrupt?

Crimmins offered advice to Holliston residents who do not want casinos here.

Holliston resident David Bastille, designer of the CasiNo sign, urged residents to go to meetings here and in Milford and make your feeling known. His signs were on sale after the forum.

Representative Dykema answered a question from the back of the room regarding site selection. She explained that Holliston is in the so-called Boston region, one of three regions. Proposed locations for casinos within the region are left up to proponents. Although Milford has been proposed, if Selectmen there vote not to allow a casino, then it cannot be built there.

Holliston resident Mitch Liro wanted to know when Selectmen will meet with Milford Selectmen to present Holliston's opposition to casinos.

Selectman chairman Jay Marsden explained that there have been some one-on-one discussions, nothing formal. But when the boards do meet, the public will be informed in plenty of time to participate.

Holliston selectmen Jay Leary and Kevin Conley, above left and center, answered questions from residents after the forum.

The Foxboro residents did an outstanding video on the impacts of a local casino on the community based on the experiences in Connecticut with Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun: http://casinofreemilford.com/video/

 

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Comments (5)

I can confirm the facts shared by the other people who are commenting. I used to live in Mystic, CT, and have close relatives who still live near the casinos. They talk about drunk driving, workers hit by cars as they walk home in the dark, poverty wages and imported workers, boarding houses, and a sharp increase in theft and embezzlement as good citizens become addicted to gambling. Prostitution and vice increase, home values decrease, and the schools are effected, too. It's a way to pass off costs onto communities while raking money off of the most vulnerable. It's a bad business for our area. Please talk to your neighbors!

- Dianna Vosburg | 3/17/13 7:52 AM

The revenue from the casino goes to the state, not to the towns, despite the fact that surrounding towns carry the weight of overburdened schools, housing and traffic. In the schools alone, accommodating 31 first languages not only affects all students n all classes, but test scores and funding. Many of the low income workers can't afford cars, and cause a hazard, especially at night, walking on the dark busy roads. Not only are houses illegally divided ito multi-room boarding houses (one even blocked a front door and used the foyer as a bedroom), but the beds themselves are shared by shift workers. This is an ongoing problem, despite vigilance of the town. I live in southeastern CT now; changes in the area, both visible and invisible, are mostly negative and cannot be undone. Many promises were made and not all kept.

- Susan | 3/16/13 10:03 PM

Apologies - I need to clarify one of my points. RE: the CT school - the school went from a handful of different first languages to 31 different languages spoken (no details on the # of actual children). The impact was trying to find teachers who spoke 31 different languages to accommodate the children.

- Gretchen | 3/15/13 9:51 AM

I hope everyone takes this to heart. . this would be the worst thing for our area... for our schools, for everyone... this is no place for this venue and with all due respect to our towns officials. . it was hard enough to get a Bertuccis. a Dunkin Donuts etc.. so lets make it equally hard to put a casino near or among us.... just say NO!

- NO to casinos | 3/15/13 7:57 AM

Very nice overview of the meeting. A few other statistics that are important to note - CT has realized a 20% decrease in home values (normalized for the overall housing market downturn). Many of the increased car accidents are as a result of people who are simply overtired from having spent so many hours in an oxygen-induced environment - forget about the alcohol. The average salary for employees at the CT casinos is $22k per year. To get people to work at the casinos, they go to developing countries to recruit. This left one school going from a handful of students where English was not their first language to 31. Last and perhaps most shockingly for me, many of the homes in the surrounding areas of the CT casinos have been turned into boarding houses of sorts (I do not recall the name she gave for them) where they pack in as many bedrooms as possible and rent by the 12 hour shift. Because wages are so low, employees need these 12 hour rooms for housing they can afford. We need to get these facts out so that Milford residents can be confident in the decision they are making on behalf of thousands of people!

- Gretchen | 3/15/13 7:24 AM

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