Chamber's Casino Report

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce has released its much-anticipated report on the expected costs and benefits of Deval Patrick's casino proposal. I've gone through it, albeit not yet with the proverbial fine-toothed comb, and on balance it should boost the pro-casino side, while not dampening the enthusiasm of the antis.

The big numbers are pretty much in line with the Gov. The report estimates that auctioning the three licenses would easily bring in $600m and likely quite a bit more. The annual benefit to the state fund's bottom line (after factoring for decline in lottery revenue, and local-impact and health mitigation) would be roughly $400 million, give or take $30m. The casinos would employ between 17,000 and 20,000 employees, most paying between $36k and $44k and requiring only a high school diploma and GED. Construction would require 30,000+ worker-years of labor, but assumes a three-year construction period, resulting in 10,000+ jobs rather than the 30,000 Patrick has cited. Of some $2b of total annual gaming revenue, three-quarters would come from Massachusetts residents.

When it comes to societal costs (or benefits), the report discusses the existing research but draws few conclusions; overall, it seems to suggest that the concerns are mostly theoretical, probably with some validity, but probably not huge.

Casino opponents will likely fault the report -- prepared by an independent firm -- for relying in parts on research conducted by those with a perceived bias toward casinos. (UMass Dartmouth's Clyde Barrow, Harrah's, etc.)

The report also suggests, but does not discuss in any detail, that the Wampanoag tribe might be able to move ahead with a successful casino without a compact with the state. This is a key part of Patrick's argument: that casino gambling is coming anyway, so we should get ahead of it and do it right. Some disagree, and argue that the tribal casino can be stopped. I wrote about this debate at some length in this piece last August (see second page).

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Talking Politics Archives