In November as the national outlook on Congressional elections was at the forefront, Massachusetts had its eyes set also on a proposed appeal to a 2011 law allowing casino gaming and slot parlors in the state. The vote of near sixty percent in favor led to the ultimate licensing of two non-tribal resort casinos at this time. A third casino is being considered, but the fate may rest in the hands of the Mashpee Wampanoag, a Native American tribe hoping to open a casino in Taunton. A slots complex that was approved in Plainville didn’t even wait for the outcome of the vote, and started construction, hoping to open in 2015. This is located on the Rhode Island border.
The tribe is awaiting a decision from the Department of the Interior. The Taunton site is not within sovereign Indian land, and they have asked for the land to be placed in a trust, allowing them to host legal tribal gambling. A first request was made in 2007, and a second in 2012. There is still no answer, and officials of the Department have stated due diligence is key in considering this. The state has no say in the decision, as the tribe does not fall under state laws in this regard.
Licenses have been awarded to MGM Resorts for a Springfield site and Wynn Resorts for a project in Greater Boston. MGM plans an 800 million dollar casino in a 2011 tornado damaged area of South End in downtown Springfield. Wynn Resorts faces an area clean up of a former Monsanto site in order to proceed with its 1.5 billion dollar casino plan.
Another consideration in the third proposed casino is an overpopulated market. Bordering states of Rhode Island and Connecticut are concerns. Both states also have legalized gambling, and want to hold on to their customers. Studies already show losses in both markets due to Massachusetts vacationers staying home. Time can be the only answer to a third casino.
Last week the fourth annual Quintessentially Foundation Poker Night took place at Savoy Hotel in London. 200 guests attended and raised $300,000 in donations during the PokerStars sponsored charity event.
Quintessentially Foundation’s goal is to improve the health, well-being, and education of children, families and communities around the world. The money raised will fund 2,500 volunteers and coaches and educate one million children every week. Children are educated on different things from washing their hands, eating proper foods, to placing mosquito nets in areas where malaria is a big problem.
Quintessentially Foundation also supports other foundations too:
The Right to Play initiative, a foundation that uses play to educate and empower children to overcome the effects of poverty, conflict, and disease in disadvantaged communities.
Place2Be, a leading United Kingdom provider of school-based mental health support. Providing therapeutic and emotional support in schools to enhance the well-being of children and their families.
GreenHouse, a foundation to inspire and influence school-aged children to become responsible stewards of their environment, communities, and future. The goal is to teach children to live a ‘green” lifestyle, so they can have a positive impact on the environment.
During the event, poker players ditched their usual garb of t-shirts, sunglasses, and sweaters for a more fun dress of mink scarfs, fedoras, pinstripe suits, and cocktail gowns to create a fun atmosphere and encourage donations. Poker and charity seem to fit well together, both bring people together and combining the warm atmosphere of charity with the highly competitive atmosphere of poker has led to great success and we can be sure to see more charitable poker events in the future.
Team members of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker room, will sport a “Right To Play” patch for the next 12 months while they travel and play in live events to help raise awareness of their new partnership with the Quintessentially Foundation. PokerStars plans to introduce more ways for its players to donate funds in the coming months, and in the meantime people can donate money on the Right To Play website or learn about the groups worthy cause, donations can also be made to the other charities via their websites and include a list of charitable events.
Many of us out there have dropped a few dollars in a company pot or among our inner circles to bet on the Super Bowl, NBA playoffs, or normal season games. A recent poll discovered that most Americans agree that betting on sports should be legalized.
55% of the people surveyed said they agreed with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that the sports betting world thrives underground and should be legalized. 33% of the respondents said that legalizing betting is a bad idea. Out of all the people polled, 47% believe the referees and umpires sway the outcome of the games because of gambling interests.
44% of male voters support the legalization and only 25% of women vote in favor of it. The younger generations, 18-29, hold a heavy “Yes” count versus those in the 45 and over range.
If betting becomes legalized it would come with very strict regulations like minimum-age verification, monitoring unusual betting-line movements, and mechanism to identify and exclude those with gambling problems.
Americans love to gamble so it’s not surprising that some officials are starting to loosen their bite on sports gambling being illegal. Legalizing sports gambling could bring in nearly $400 billion in revenues, the amount it makes underground now. Fantasy Football leagues rake in tons of money each year, just like gambling websites. Legalizing sports betting would cause addicts to gamble away their money, because they are already doing it at casinos, racetracks, online, or in fantasy leagues. And with Americans enjoying legal access to vices like alcohol and medicinal weed, there is no reason why sports betting should be treated any differently.
Although the NBA believes sports betting should be allowed, there is still the other major pro sports who have their say. Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, is against sports betting becoming legal saying “do you want people at football and basketball games rooting for their spread or rooting for their favorite team?” It would kill the passion and love of teams since most fantasy sports consist of creating a team from different teams. The goal of sports is to build pride, camaraderie, appreciation, and family legacy.
Sports have different followings; the casual observer- a spectator- and the ardent participant- the fan. Yet, if sports betting is legalized a third following- the investor- would be added who’s only goal is to make a profit.
It’s hard to gauge if sports betting would be a success or diminish the joy of sporting events. March Madness and Horse Racing are sports that include betting and they have a huge following, without betting they may not exist. In the end it comes down to what sports like football, baseball, hockey, and basketball are all about, cheering on your team and the excitement you feel when they play, is that worth losing to make a quick buck?
Generally, when we think about gambling and casinos we think of the negative stereotypes. Casinos suck up all of our money, the games are a rip off, no one wins, and they are a burden to the community. The same is said about card houses and racetracks. However, this year the American Gaming Association decided to end the negative outlook on gaming and show us the positive benefits that come from casinos. The study was conducted by Oxford Economics, what they found was surprising.
The U.S. gaming industry contributes to $240 billion to the U.S. This includes Native American owned at $81 billion, gaming itself with $67 billion, gaming equipment manufacturers who bring in $6 billion, and consumer spending on restaurants, hotels, and other businesses with $14 billion. Gaming also generates money via its suppliers and employee spending at $138 billion.
Over 1.7 million jobs are supported by gaming. Being one of the largest recreational employers in America, gaming directly hires over 700,000 American workers, and supports jobs from suppliers with another 380,000 jobs, and gaming’s employee spending sustains just under 600,000 jobs. All of this adds up to $74 billion in income for gaming workers.
Oxford Economics also found that the gaming industry makes $17 billion in federal taxes. State and local taxes added up to $11 billion, with $10 billion in local and state gaming taxes. This $38 billion in taxes pays for a wide range of services for Americans like public safety, hospitals, schools, and is enough to pay 500,000 teachers’ salaries!
The beauty of casinos and gaming are shown in Oxfords Economics study, which can be found at the American Gaming Associations site www.GetToKnowGaming.org. When communities get casinos, racetracks, card rooms, and other gaming facilities, it opens up an entire world of jobs, entertainment, and tourism. So they next time we think about going to the track or hitting the casino for the weekend, we should think about all the jobs we are helping support, the teachers who are able to make a living, the communities that can finally build school and hospitals, and of course how much we want to win!
These days, more and more gas stations are pairing up with other businesses to draw in consumers. We see Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Subways, and other chain located inside some gas station chains. One New York city has taken a different spin on pumping gas. Canastota, New York, has added 14 slot machines to its SavOn gas station. Yes, slot machines. Customers can come in to gas up their cars, grab a drink, and play the slots for a bit. Being located right off the highway it seemed an ideal place to put the slot machines to generate more business and income for the community. And it’s working.
Many customers have already tried and enjoyed the slot machines and are giving the idea rave reviews, one woman said that it was good for the community because it brings in more money. Another gentleman liked the idea because it was a lot closer than going to the casino. Some customers are already making dedicated weekly stops to play the slots in hopes of cashing out big or winning just enough to make their gas free.
Not everyone is on board with this idea however, some people in the community felt that it would benefit compulsive gamblers since it’s so close to home, to spend even more time and money on the slots and there is worry that younger adults and underage youth will be more apt to come into the gas station and play. There is a solution for this though, with 24-hour monitoring and “Know you limit” pamphlets the SavOn gas station will be sure the slot machine privilege isn’t abused.
Kelly Abdo, public relations, of the city’s casino, Turning Stone, thinks the slot machines at the SavOn gas station is a great idea and believes it is a convenient gaming alternative to customers driving out to the casino. Turning Stone officials say that this isn’t a new idea, they tried the idea once ten years ago but it wasn’t convenient back then, but slot machine technology has come a long way since then and they are ready to try the idea again, and so far the results are positive.
If you are making your way through New York, be sure to stop in Canastota at the SavOn gas station to see their 14 slots and try your luck.