Foxborough Shares Its Casino Lessons
by Paul Saulnier 3/15/13
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/