According to today's Boston Globe, Gov. Patrick intends to announce his support for three casinos in Massachusetts, including one in Western Massachusetts.
I'm not in favor of criminalizing gambling. Prohibition is the classic example of what happens when society criminalizes a common activity or substance in which many people participate or use. Doesn't mean I have to like it, though.
I will leave it to others to lay out the economic pros and cons. Instead, I have three images:
Returning from a four year stay in Maine, I go to a local smoke shop looking for a deal on cigarettes. (!!!) I notice there are a half-dozen people just standing around, not in line, each separate from each other and silent. They give off creepy air of mass lobotomy. In those racing seconds when my mind is seeking an explanation-- an outing from some local residential center?-- I realize that their attention is focused upwards toward a television mounted on the wall, where the screen says, "Next game will begin in four minutes." I ask the propriator what's going on and he says, "Keno." First time I have heard those words.
I go to my local convenience store, only one older man in front of me, and wait five minutes while he spends $50 choosing scratch cards from the overwheming diversity of ticket rolls behind the counter. I notice that the sole of one of his shoes is hanging on by just a few stitches.
A ninety year old woman who lives in subsidized housing and who I have been expected at a meeting calls me to explain she can't come-- her "friend," to whom she will pay $100 for transportation, is taking her to Foxwoods.