GSCAEG - Coalition Says Legalizing Predatory Gambling in NH is a Bad Bet

CONCORD, N.H. December 10, 2008 – At a press conference today in Concord, the gambling lobby offered the same tired and discredited arguments about expanding gambling in New Hampshire that the legislature has rejected in the past, said leaders of the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling.


“The predatory gambling industry thinksthat our legislature is ready to trade our state's reputation, healthy quality of life, and lowest national crime rate, for a gambling tax that will make everyone in our state poorer, and a handful of casino and slot machine owners much richer,” said the Coalition’s Chairman Jim Rubens. “The gambling lobby’s rosy financial promises sound like the Wall Street ‘something for nothing’ siren song we heard just before the subprime mortgage meltdown.”


“Casino revenues are declining across the nation,” added Deputy House Republican Leader David Hess. “As soon as we legalize predatory slots parlors, we’ll see casinos popping across the Massachusetts border, and the gambling lobby’s trumped-up revenue promises will leave the state with a budget problem worse than we have now.”


New Hampshire was recently ranked as the safest state in the country. FBI crime data shows that three years after casino openings, six of the most serious violent and property crimes increase in that county by 8 to 10 percent.


"When compulsive gamblers get desperate, they will do anything to gamble," said Ted Smith, Chief of Police Ted Smith of Lincoln and President of the NH Association of Chiefs of Police. “The statistics are clear that crime rises significantly, not just in the communities where casinos are located, but also in a 50 miles radius that encompass surrounding towns.” Chief Smith concluded by stating that “while the casino may have first class security, once you walk out the door it is a different story. The state might be able to count some additional tax revenue, but only by ignoring the costs of increased crime and broken homes.”


The impact of predatory gaming has also been shown to damage local businesses as individuals spend discretionary money at the casino with the profits going to out of state owners. Casinos offer cheap food and lodging in order to keep the gamblers at their site for as long as possible.


Tom Boucher, CEO-Owner of Great NH Restaurants and NH resident, stated “slot barns or so-called racinos depend on local clientele; they do not attract up-scale out-of-state gamblers. Study after study has proven that when a casino has opened in other parts of the country, the local restaurant and hotel industry is devastated. We cannot afford to have that happen here in New Hampshire.”



The Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling (GSCAEG) is an alliance of businesses, legislators, trade and civic organizations, faith-based groups and concerned citizens with a common goal to prevent economic and social destruction of New Hampshire that would follow legalized slot casinos. Members of the GSCAEG coalition include New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association, New Hampshire Chiefs of Police, New Hampshire Sheriffs Association, Granite State Taxpayers, Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers, NH Citizens for A Sound Economy, New Hampshire Council of Churches, United Church of Christ, New Hampshire Baptists Association, Unitarian Universalists for Social Responsibility, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, Citizens' Alliance for Action – NH, New Hampshire Women’s Lobby, Cornerstone Policy Research, NH Retired Educators Association, Children's Alliance of New Hampshire, League of Women Voters of New Hampshire, Stonyfield Farm, Inc. Additional organizations opposed to legalized slots casinos include: National Education Association – New Hampshire, New Hampshire Medical Society, New Hampshire Republican Party, New Hampshire School Administrators Association, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester.


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