Skip to content

Impact of casinos on Connecticut

December 9, 2011

A 2009 report entitled Gambling in Connecticut (available in pdf here) outlines a number of serious negative effects nearby communities may experience from a casino. The report was published by the Connecticut Division of Special Revenue regarding that state’s two major casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. It was prepared by the New Jersey-based Spectrum Gaming Group.

The report provides a glimpse into what Walpole residents might be able to expect from a casino in Foxboro. Since casinos are coming to Massachusetts whether we like it or not, it seems evident that many of the issues outlined in the report may actually be experienced by us anyway. But the effects would be worse if it is right next to the South Walpole border, as Bob Kraft and Steve Wynn have proposed.

Here are some of the positive effects of the casinos, directly from the report:

“The two casinos are responsible directly and indirectly for $1.2 billion worth of personal income in Connecticut.”

“Since 1992, [the casinos] have accounted for about 12 percent of the net new job growth in Connecticut.”

“Through December 2008, Connecticut’s 169 municipalities and state government shared $4.87 billion as a result of money generated through slot royalties (the state government received about $3.3 billion and the state‘s towns roughly $1.6 billion)”

“About half of the patrons who visit the two casinos are from out of state, which means that much of the casino contribution to the state is paid for by non-Connecticut residents.”

“The two tribal casinos have boosted tourism in southeastern Connecticut.”

“Vendors in nearly 90 percent of the state‘s 169 communities benefit from casino purchases of goods and services. The two casinos in 2007 directly employed more than 21,000 people, generating an annual payroll of nearly $700 million. The total number of direct, indirect and induced jobs created in Connecticut is about 30,000.”

Here are some of the numerous drawbacks of the casinos, directly from the report:

Cities and towns in Connecticut have not been getting their fair share of casino revenue. “The direct dollar amount from Indian gaming flowing into the state’s General Fund increased from $24 million in FY 1994 to $340 million in 2007. By comparison, the amount allocated for distribution to municipalities has stayed relatively constant during the same period.
In FY 2007, the state‘s 169 municipalities split $86.3 million, $2 million less than they received in 1994. Looking at it another way, the General Assembly allocated 78 percent of the state‘s gaming revenue to municipalities in the 1994 fiscal year, the first full year of Indian gaming. In 2007, the figure fell to just 21 percent.”

Compare that to Massachusetts, which is notorious for unfunded mandates on cities and towns. If the casino is built in Foxboro, will there be any guarantee that the state will properly compensate Foxboro and other area towns?

Norwich, Connecticut, a city of about 36,000, is within eight miles of both Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun and has seen a severe impact on their budget, along with increased DUIs and other crimes. “DUI arrests have more than doubled since 1992. Montville and Ledyard [two other area towns] have also experienced significant increases. Roughly 20 percent of the motorists in Montville, Ledyard and North Stonington arrested for DUI acknowledged to police that their last drink was at a casino.”

In terms of impact on schools, “Norwich Public School administrators identified on a yearly basis nearly $2 million in  casino-related costs. In order to handle the influx of immigrant workers attracted to casino jobs, the district had to create an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program because students speak nearly 30 different languages.”

The number of ESOL students in Norwich has quadrupled between 1999 and 2009 – going from 40 to 400. What’s more is that many of these students are not proficient in math or reading.

“Budgets cuts forced the [Norwich school] district to eliminate a full-day kindergarten program [and] close an elementary school.”

“The City of Norwich copes with significant impacts as well. City officials estimate casino-related costs to be anywhere from $1 million to $2.5 million a year. They include a 27 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents from 1991 to 2004, an increase in police overtime from $85,000 in 1991 to more than $280,000 in 2008, [and a] 76 percent increase in calls for service from people needing the assistance of the police from 1992 to 2004.”

Norwich is just an example, as other area towns have experienced similar issues as explained in the report.

“With many casino workers unable to afford housing in southeastern Connecticut, some landlords have converted single-family homes into boarding facilities.”

Can you imagine boarding houses in Walpole?

“Norwich added a new position, Blight Officer, in 2007 to investigate complaints of substandard housing and hotbedding.” (hotbedding is where more than one person is assigned to sleep in a single bed to save space.)

I predict the casino issue will blow over in one month – then we will be back to talking about more pressing fiscal issues in Walpole right now.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: