We are a group of residents of Plainville and surrounding towns who are concerned about expanded gambling at Plainridge Racecourse. We oppose the addition of slot machines and the inevitable economic, social, and political impact on our communities and way of life.

Repeal the
Casino Deal

March 6, 2014


NO PLAINVILLE RACINO DISBANDS AS OPPOSITION GROUP,
TURNS THEIR ATTENTION TO REPEAL THE CASINO DEAL EFFORT

NO PLAINVILLE RACINO has decided to disband as an opposition group in Plainville. Instead, they will join the greater Massachusetts Repeal the Casino Deal effort across the commonwealth. Deciding that a lawsuit to challenge the actions of the Massachusetts gambling commission was cost prohibitive, the membership has instead opted to volunteer in the repeal effort as it gains momentum.

The financial imbalance between the unlimited resources of gambling interests vying for a casino license and the volunteer citizens groups opposed to casinos in their communities was thrown into high relief in towns that were hit hardest by the recession.

In Plainville, that was exacerbated by a board of selectmen that promoted and lobbied for slots at the racetrack for more than a decade before the Gaming Act was passed.

NO PLAINVILLE RACINO’s costly uphill campaign to keep expanded predatory gambling out of Plainville was met with disdain and dismissiveness by everyone from Plainville’s selectmen, to their state senator and representative, to the governor. Even the courts are off-limits as a way to redress their grievances regarding the treatment of Plainville voters by the gambling commission.

Now that Penn National has been given a casino license, NO PLAINVILLE RACINO must change its tactics; by joining with other citizens from across the commonwealth who are also opposed to predatory gambling, they will become part of the effort to stop all casinos and slot parlors anywhere and everywhere in the state.

Repeal the Casino Deal is the statewide organization of concerned citizens, taxpayers, activists, and organizations across the political spectrum who are opposed to the 2011 law that legalized casino and slots gambling in Massachusetts. Repeal the Casino Deal is a volunteer driven, non-partisan organization of people who know that the only way to prevent slots and casinos from impacting our families is to have NO slots or casinos in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. RepealTheCasinoDeal.org

 

Results

In the Host Community Referendum on September 10, 2013 2,008 Plainville residents voted. 76% voted to allow a gaming establishment in Plainville. We obviously would have liked a majority to vote against establishing a racino. Yet we were very satisfied with this result because it exceeded our goal of the Host Community Agreement being approved by less than the 86.1% of voters in Raynham.

We sincerely appreciate the support of those who voted raciNO and supported our efforts over the past year.


Below is a summary of the Top 22 Reasons to VOTE NO SLOTS:
  • Reason #1 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Gambling changes a town forever. Once slots (and then table games) are here, the very culture of the town will change, as so many other towns that have adopted expanded gambling have said. Increases in embezzlement, theft, DUIs, domestic violence, child neglect, bankruptcies, and suicides as a result of a substantial increase in pathological and problem gambling cannot be denied. The growth of payday lenders, pawn shops, “hot-bedding,” and prostitution in gambling towns is well documented all over the country. An increase in out-of-town workers in low-wage jobs causes a strain on local services, including housing and schools.
    • The original plan put forth by Plainridge for a small slots parlor and a food court has grown exponentially. The several restaurants and sports bar means that people who go to the facility won’t be stepping out to eat in the local restaurants.
    • The much-touted defense of the facility as having no impact on traffic because people will be getting off 495, then right back on without traveling our town’s roads means that they won’t be passing by local businesses and stopping in. So, which is it? Bad for traffic, or bad for business? Proponents can’t have it both ways.
    • Finally, the claim that crime won’t go up is belied by the fact the we have already experienced more than seven years of crime at the track — the armored car heist pales in comparison to the embezzlement that continued, unchecked, for years. What else was happening there that the owners and the Racing Commission didn’t see?
  • Reason #2 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Plainville should not be forced to prop up harness racing, a dead industry, that cannot support itself. We would not do it and have not done it for ANY other business in Plainville.
  • Reason #3 to VOTE NO SLOTS: There is less than a week between when the selectmen met Penn National for the first time and the day when voters go to the polls to give the thumbs up or thumbs down to allow Penn National to apply for the slots license at Plainridge. To add insult to injury, the MA Gaming Commission has not concluded its vetting process of PNG, nor issued a suitability ruling.
  • Reason #4 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Casinos and racinos saturation in New England means a dim future for slots and harness racing at Plainridge.
  • Reason #5 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Plainville selectmen want voters to accept Springfield's and Tewksbury's rejects.
  • Reason #6 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Once expanded gambling comes to Plainville, it's here forever.
  • Reason #7 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Plainville is having serious money problems, but we can't gamble our way into solvency, any recovering gambling addict would tell you that. And any recovering gambling addict would tell you that it's foolish to try.
  • Reason #8 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Slot machines are designed to trick players into continuing to "play to extinction." A recent Canadian study shows that some modern slot machines ‘trick’ players – by way of their physiology – into feeling like they are winning when in fact they are losing.
  • Reason #9 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Slots casinos are capital intensive, not labor intensive — they depend much more on machines than on human workers. An operator that needs workers with skills tailored to specialized machines seems unlikely to hire from the local neighborhood. In slot parlor after slot parlor around the country, the projected jobs to the town are never realized.
  • Reason #10 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Unless Plainville votes NO on September 10th, we will be bound by a Host Community Agreement (HCA) that allows the developer to EXPAND the slot parlor without another town vote; expanding the number of slot machines and adding table games would already be approved for Plainridge if we don't defeat the referendum now.
  • Reason #11 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Gaming will NOT fuel the creation of new, cutting edge industries in Plainville.
  • Reason #12 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Research suggests that problem and pathological gambling is associated with depression and suicidal tendencies.
  • Reason #13 to VOTE NO SLOTS: "We find that crime increases over time in casino counties, and that casinos do not just shift crime from neighboring regions, but create crime. We estimate the crime-related social costs in casino counties at approximately $75 per adult per year," [Baylor University professor Earl] Grinols said.
  • Reason #14 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Youth gambling is increasing at an alarming rate.
  • Reason #15 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Seniors are more vulnerable to gambling than folks who are working full time.
  • Reason #16 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Child Abuse and Neglect: Research has documented an association between pathological gambling and child maltreatment.
  • Reason #17 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Gambling is a multi-billion dollar drag on the economy: For every $1 that's gambled, you lose $3 to the consumer economy.
  • Reason #18 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Saturation: With a slots parlor and 3 casinos, no one in Massachusetts will live further than 50 miles from at least one, sometimes two or three, gambling sites. Right now Plainville is within 50 miles of two facilities.
  • Reason #19 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Slots are the “crack cocaine” of gambling: "It's important for voters to understand how these machines work. Every feature of a slot machine — its mathematical structure, visual graphics, sound dynamics, seating and screen ergonomics — is calibrated to increase a gambler's ‘time on device’ and to encourage ‘play to extinction,’ which is industry jargon for playing until all your money is gone ... - Dr. Natasha Dow Schüll, Assistant Professor at MIT, and author of the book Addiction by Design
  • Reason #20 to VOTE NO SLOTS: The Planning Board may have overreached the zoning by-law of the town by allowing slots at Plainridge.
  • Reason #21 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Economists at the National Association of Realtors call the impact of casinos on housing markets "unambiguously negative." A casino would sap home values in the host community.
  • Reason #22 to VOTE NO SLOTS: Would you hire someone you’d never had the chance to interview? Would you hire someone whose references you hadn’t had an opportunity to check? That’s what we’re being asked to do for Penn National Gaming.

And in case you need more reasons, here's more on why expanding gaming in Plainville doesn't make sense:

  • Host Community Agreement: Once all costs are mitigated (increased police force, additional town services, reduced property tax revenues due to decline in housing values resulting from proximity to a gaming facility, increases education costs) would Plainville actually see any additional money being added to its coffers? Plainridge would guarantee the town $2.8 million a year during the first five years of operations. Over the following five years, the agreement calls for a payment to the town of 1.5% of gross gambling revenue, which increases to 2% after 10 years of operation. But what happens when gaming revenue declines due to competition both locally as well as online? Plainville could actually lose money on the deal since costs would exceed revenues. The agreement also calls for Plainridge to pay commercial property taxes guaranteed to be $1.5 million in the first year, growing by 2.5% annually.
  • Property values: Gaming establishments have a negative impact on housing values since who wants to live near an establishment that has lots of traffic 24x7, tends to have a lot of crime, and increases the incidence of drunk driving. Homes near the Connecticut casinos have seen property values decrease by 10-20% - which looking at the average Plainville property value (per Boston Magazine's 2013 survey) could mean a decrease of $30,000 to $60,000 reduction in the value of your home.
  • Job quality: These are low paying jobs with the median annual wage for a slot worker is only $25,1001 - and a racino requires very few employees to operate. This salary is just above the poverty level and is significantly below the income per capita is $36,434, which includes all adults and children. The median household income is $76,188. These are not the type of jobs Plainville needs to boost our local economy.
  • Economic benefits: Government sponsored gambling is a failed public policy. Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Twin River and Newport Grand have had their own problems over the past few years, including the need for Twin River to file for bankruptcy protection. The RI Governor and state legislature included this in their FY2011 and FY2010 Supplemental Budget as Enacted: The budget “Foregoes revenues of $3.7 million for Twin River and $1.0 million for Newport Grand to ensure the Twin River facility successfully emerges from bankruptcy." The government is bailing out the gambling establishments who were supposed to provide the miraculous revenue for the state and region. Mohegan Sun is $1.6 billion in debt and their stock is rated at a junk-bond status. Steve Wynn, a casino owner once said, “Get it straight...there is no reason on earth for any of you to expect for more than one second that just because there are people here [at casinos], they’re going to run into your store, or restaurant, or bar.” Donald Trump, in an interview with the Miami Herald, said “People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they lose customer dollars to the casinos.”
  • Competition: There is currently slot gambling just 18 miles from Plainridge at Twin River which has 4,700 slot machines. In addition, Steve Wynn is proposing a billion dollar casino approximately 5 miles north of Plainridge across from Patriots Place. If that's not enough competition, there is another proposal for a casino 22 miles away in Taunton with 3,000 slot machines. Why would a local resident want to visit the local 1,250 slot machine "slot barn" when they could play in the luxury of a billion dollar Wynn "Destination Resort" or another "First Class Destination Resort" in Taunton? With so many local venues competing for the same gambling dollars, revenue projections could be overly optimistic. Then there's online competition which from companies like Facebook and Zynga. Online gaming is becoming legal in Nevada, NJ and elsewhere. Why go to a dingy "racino" when you can gamble from home? Plainridge could soon follow in the path of "brick and mortar" stores like Barnes & Noble, Circuit City and others that have been decimated by the Internet.
  • Crime: Crime, including embezzlement, robbery, DUIs, aggravated assaults and domestic violence rates, increases 8-10% right after casino is built and continues to increase after that. Ledyard, CT (home to Foxwoods), has seen a 30-fold increase in calls to 911 since casinos were introduced. CT State Police have seen a dramatic increase in DUI arrests, followed by a leveling off of DUI arrests. The leveling off was followed by an increase in drunken driving DEATHS. The state police determined that DUI occurrences had continued to rise but they did not have enough police resources to CATCH them.
  • Addiction: Slot machines are highly addictive, more than any other form of gambling. The Impact on Citizen's Report notes that "with the opening of the proposed slot parlor, the adult problem gambling prevalence within Plainville is projected to reach 4.8% (approximately 300 citizens). That's as many people that were affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy. And your Selectmen think this is a good idea - ruining the lives of 300 of the Plainville's residents? That seems like a huge price to pay for benefits that may never materialize.
  • Harness racing synergies: "This idea that we can revive harness racing by adding slot machines is really a lie--there's no evidence that that would work."2 Don't worry, it's not like horse racing is going away - there are still other tracks in MA to support this small industry.
  • Traffic: The intersection of Route 1 closest to Plainridge is one of the most dangerous intersections in the state. In addition, Plainridge is proposing the addition of 4 new traffic lights which will further contribute to the traffic and congestion in the local area.
  • Plainridge is a money loser: According to The Boston Globe, Plainridge was initially profitable but has become a money loser over the past five years, and needs the extra revenue that slot machines would generate to keep the facility afloat. Plainridge’s investors, namely a Las Vegas slot machine tycoon who owns 31% of the track, have pumped at least $32 million into the track over the past decade - and that may soon hit $35 million. Since then, each year has brought additional losses, with Plainridge’s backers subsidizing the money-losing operation as interest steadily dropped in live horse racing. How can we expect Plainridge to be successful with a highly complex slot operation if they cannot even make money with their current business venture? What has Plainridge's management been doing since the track opened - “We have been here for 14 years watching paint dry. This is getting exciting. This is light speed.” - says Gary Pointkowski, Plainridge Racecourse's former President.
  • Future demographics: The aging demographics of the typical slot player means longer term the number of gamblers will decrease in the near future. According to a recent University of Massachusetts study, 40% of the Massachusetts visitors to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun were 50 years or older. This will further pressure racino revenues as their target demographic decreases in numbers. More likely that future projections based on today's game play will be false (past performance is not guarantee of future performance).
  • Casino: There's a small leap from a racino to a casino and it is a familiar strategy to start as a slot parlor as a step to a casino as Twin River did.

Don't believe us? Review the Impact on Citizen's Report prepared by the gaming experts hired by the town. Below Table 1's "Summary Table of Impacts on Local Citizens" is reproduced - does this really make sense for the town of Plainville:

Impact Area
Increase
Mixed or No Impact
Decrease
Problem Gambling Prevalence
X
 
Child Abuse & Neglect
X
 
Suicide Rate
X
 
Crime Rate
X
 
Vehicle Accidents
X
 
Unsafe Sex (STDs)
X
 
Domestic Violence
X
 
Divorce
X
 
 
 
Police Department
X
 
Fire Department
X
 
 
 
Government Revenue
X
 
Employment
X
 
Bankruptcies
X
 
Property Values
X
 

 

Please let us know if you have any additions, corrections or amplifications to the information presented above.

How you can help

1) Email your Selectmen and tell them a racino is not in Plainville's best interest

Andrea Soucy
andisoucy@comcast.net

Rob Rose
lsxplrer@comcast.net

Robert Fennessy
rfennessy@fennessylawoffices.com

Also, contact the Town Administrator:
Joseph Fernandes jfernandes@plainville.ma.us


2) Support our cause

Please note we have not filed our 501(c)(3) paperwork so donations are not tax deductible.


3) Stay informed and Friend us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter

 

Stop Predatory Gambling

Watch Les Bernal's Stop Predatory Gambling presentation at a recent No Plainville Racino open house:

 

 

We're working for you!

Mary-Ann Greanier presents at the September 6, 2013 Massachusetts Gaming Commission's hearing on whether to allow Plainridge Racecourse to transfer their Host Community Agreement to Penn National Gaming.

Read our September 18, 2013 letter to Governor Patrick regarding slots application in Plainville.

 


Contact Us: info@noplainvilleracino.com

1 U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, page 5.

2 Ballotpedia.org