Massachusetts mayors denounce anti-casino study

They argued that other states have not seen dramatic lottery revenues losses

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts mayors and town executives on Tuesday challenged a study by anti-casino activists that claims new casinos will reduce city and town profits from the state lottery.

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Plainville Town Administrator Joseph Fernandes and five other municipal leaders pointed to past studies suggesting that the revenue losses would not nearly be as severe as the 22 percent drop predicted by the Repeal the Casino Deal, which is campaigning for a Nov. 4 popular vote to strike down the state’s 2011 casino law.

The mayors and administrators maintained that lottery revenue losses would be “short-term” and ultimately offset by new casino-generated revenue.

“These claims are totally inconsistent with the other studies about effects on local aid and with the experience of other states regarding lottery revenues,” they said in a joint statement issued by the Committee to Protect Massachusetts Jobs, a casino-backed political group working to defeat the ballot question.

Everett, Springfield and Plainville are the three communities where state gambling regulators have so far approved new gambling licenses. Anti-casino activists on Tuesday said the critiques “strain credibility.” They noted that in their study they used the state Gaming Commission’s own estimates to arrive at their findings.

Last week, Repeal the Casino Deal released a study estimating that lottery profits will drop overall by some $85 million to $103 million as casinos draw customers away from lottery games. The drop in revenue would affect city and town budgets since all state lottery revenue, after administrative overhead costs, goes directly to local aid.

In their response, the mayors and administrators cited recent studies by the state, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and the Center for Policy Analysis at UMass-Dartmouth. They argued that other states have not seen dramatic lottery revenues losses.

“In fact, lottery revenues in Connecticut have doubled since the inception of casinos, and lotteries in Maine, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania have all continued to grow, even as those states introduced gaming,” they said in the statement.

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