The Commonwealth Comment

Friday, August 03, 2007

Middleboro Joins The Tribe

A bit of local news!
In a 2,387 to 1,335 the town of Middleboro, MA has recently approved a deal between the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe and the town to build the state's first casino. The deal promises the town $7 million each year.
The proposal deeply divided the town. Opponents of the casino claim on their website, Casino Facts, "One of the most comprehensive studies on casinos and crime reported that casinos increased crime in the categories of rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft. The increased crime starts about three years after casino introduction. This pattern is consistent with the theories that problem and pathological gamblers commit crime as they deplete their resources."
Proponents of the casino are looking at the town's current fiscal crisis, which includes a suffering school budget. With the casino in town they see a bright future with an increase in tourism, which will boost the local economy, and more jobs in the area.
"In exchange for its support, the casino developers are promising the town $7 million a year in cash payments, plus revenues from a 4 percent lodging assessment when a planned 1,500 room hotel opens on the site. The tribe has also promised to make improvements in town roads and other infrastructure for the benefit of the casino, and to make a onetime $2 million payment for police and ambulance services." (Boston Globe)
The casino still requires state and federal approval, which it is likely to receive.
Glenn Marshall, the tribal chairman called the state's largest town meeting in history " exciting day for everyone. Now, it's time to sit down and negotiate with the governor."
My Opinion: I am personally in favor of the proposes casino in Middleboro. The area and state needs a major source of revenue, and a casino is a good way to achieve such goals. I hope that this casino will put the spot light on Southeastern Massachusetts, and the area will no longer be treated as the armpit of the state.
I understand the concerns of traffic troubles, especially with the Middleboro rotary at Rts. 44 and 18. However, I feel that the long term benefits for Middleboro and the surrounding communities outweigh the negatives, especially considering that the tribe has agreed to pay for road upgrades to deal with the increased traffic.
One such opposition was an increase in gambling addiction. My major argument with this idea is that people are addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, and food. Why not stop selling those?!
The thing that completely turned me off about Casino Facts was when I was watching an NECN report on the casino. A spokesperson for the group said that a casino would lead to an increase in child molestation. WTF?! I want to see the direct correlation between casinos and pedophilia. A straw man argument if I ever heard one.
Congratulations to the voters of Middleboro, who have taken a huge step in preserving their town's financial security for years to come.


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