The debate over the Foxwoods MA project heats up

  • Comments: (0)
  • Published August 6th, 2013 in News, Poker

Imagine you receive a phone call telling you that you’ve just been selected to receive two free flights and hotel stays across Europe for the next four weeks. Pretty sweet phone call right! While, most of us would jump at the chance to go on a four week European vacation, imagine if you are afraid of flying? This dream vacation is more of a nightmare if that’s the case. Furthermore, if you were without the financial means to go on the trip (or the ability to take time off from work, or find someone to watch the kids) then the free flight and free hotels are meaningless to you, it’s like having a fork but nothing to eat.

For some of us it’s a dream scenario, for others it’s an absolute nightmare, and for the vast majority the issue itself is met with utter indifference. And so it is with the current debate on the possibility of a casino in Milford. There are two smallish groups that are on opposite sides of the divide, while the vast majority of residents fall into the indifferent crowd –they might have an opinion one way or the other, but either outcome will not cause them to lose any sleep.

What I’m getting at is that most issues in life boil down to our individual perspective, and are not simply a case of I’m right and you’re wrong, or vice versa. My new job could be your pink slip; my new driveway could mean your flooded basement; a casino in Milford could mean a new job for Peter and a drop in Paul’s property values.

Truth be told, there are many things that concern me about a casino on the outskirts of my town, despite the fact that for the past decade or so poker and the poker industry have been my primary source of income. So full disclosure; I’m somewhere between wanting a casino and being indifferent to it. Yes, I have my concerns, but in addition to the negative outcomes I can also see the possibilities. I don’t feel losing the casino would spell the end for Milford, or even impact the town in any meaningful way. But I also don’t feel the other way about it either. A casino in Milford doesn’t mean the end of Milford, and as a gambling man I’m willing to take the chance that the positives will outweigh the negatives in the long-run.

I’ve seen the vast majority of German’s walk by slot parlors in downtown Berlin without giving them a second look (they are for degenerates I was told); I’ve been in the collared shirt and pants required casinos in Austria, Germany, Holland and elsewhere; I’ve had incredible nights at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods WITHOUT ever putting down a bet –and I’ve had some great nights when I have put down bets too!  I’ve been to Vegas and Atlantic City, and I’ve been to illegal cardrooms as well. The point is, I’ve seen it all, and I’ve seen and experienced the good and the bad, so I’m under no illusions what a casino means.

The reason I say this is that most of the information is being peddled by people with agendas, people who are trying to turn some of these indifferent residents into partisans. But the issue will always boil down to one thing: Perspective. These pointless facts about crime increasing (studies show that crime increases more when you build a shopping mall than a casino), or outdated or anecdotal evidence about Atlantic City or shuttered buildings leading to Foxwoods are simply ways to bolster the conclusion you have already drawn: Casinos are bad; now let me go find the evidence that backs up my opinion. It’s a problem of causal fallacy, or unknown variables.

Opponents of casinos see Foxwoods as the problem for local businesses or specific unemployment rates, where proponents will point to the economic collapse of 2008 as the main cause.  The anti-casino crowd will show you P&L’s where Foxwoods is hemorrhaging money, while the pro-casino crowd will again call out “2008” and show P&L’s from the 2005 when the casino was making money hand over fist.

The question each of us has to ask ourselves is what is the trade-off we are willing to live with? Are we willing to deal with more traffic, more water and sewer issues, and the potential for petty crime to spillover, in exchange for more jobs and better economic stability in the area? Where does a casino fall in your moral hierarchy? What benefits will you gain and at what cost, because make no mistake about it; nothing is free in this world.

The truth is we simply don’t know what putting a casino in Milford will do. What if the economy booms and unemployment in the area dips to 3%? Chances are most of the earlier anti-casino advocates will be singing its praises. What if the town slips into a decline and never recovers? There will be plenty of I told you so’s and excuses like, the economy was already free-falling, and there is too much competition with Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York.

I have no problem with people that are against gambling on ideological grounds, and I have no issue with people who are concerned about their property values or their business –these are absolutely valid concerns. Where I do have a problem is when we are inundated with hyperbolic arguments with a lot of words and phrases like “possibly”, “sometimes”, and “could lead to.” And on the other side we get words and phrases such as “up to”, “if”, and “potential.”

More so, I really have an issue with a small group of citizens trying to upset the legislative process. Why are they so concerned about letting this matter go before the (right-leaning) citizens of Milford on a ballot referendum? Why are they trying to decide the outcome of the casino proposal before the selectmen have even voted on it –which happened when someone tried to force a vote a meeting some months ago?

My feeling on government is that it’s hardly ever perfect, but even if some candidate I absolutely deplore was elected, or some bill were to pass that I completely disagreed with, I still want the process. I want the vote to go to the people (or to the elected representatives), even if they do not hold the same views as me.

If ground is broken for a casino in Milford I’d be fairly happy about it; if the citizens of the Milford voted it down, or it was awarded to Everett or Suffolk Downs instead, then so be it. Nobody is right or wrong concerning the casino, we just have different perspectives.



Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Posted in: News, Poker
  • Comments: 0

What do you think? Join the discussion...

Community Poll


Recent Readers