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Editorial: On casinos, it's best to listen to The Donald

The annual attempt to convince the Legislature to adopt casino gambling has become as certain as the changing of the seasons, so we fully expect the battle to continue. But Gov. Maggie Hassan, perennial casino proponent Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, and the rest of the easy-money crowd should slow down and take it from The Donald. The days when hosting a casino was a sure winner for municipalities and states are over.

Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the outlook for America’s gaming industry from stable to negative. Moody’s cited two main reasons for the decline.

First, the proliferation of casinos means that the pot of gambling dollars is now divided many ways. Worse yet, there are scores of new casinos in the pipeline; 17 applicants have applied to open in New York state alone. Each opening dims the revenue picture for the casinos already in business. Second, debt-ridden consumers dope-slapped by the long recession have yet to return to their free-spending ways. They will continue, analysts say, to limit their spending primarily to essentials, a category that doesn’t include gaming.

The downturn in casino fortunes, save in Las Vegas, is well under way. One of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos closed in January and three others have announced that they would close in the fall unless new buyers are found. Among them is the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, which sent layoff notices to its 1,600 employees. Between them, the four casinos represent 8,000 jobs. Donald Trump, a frequent visitor to New Hampshire in election seasons, put gaming’s future more colorfully in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer than the number crunchers at Moody’s.

“What’s happening in Atlantic City is happening all over the country. The United States is becoming one big casino,” said The Donald. In outspoken Trump fashion, he went on to say: “Atlantic City is getting clobbered. Seventy-five percent of the casinos in Atlantic City are bankrupt or going through bankruptcy. The other 25 percent are on respirators. This is going to happen in (the Philadelphia area) and Pennsylvania, too, you watch. State governments think casino revenue is the panacea, but it’s not the panacea when everyone is doing it.”

Are you listening New Hampshire legislators?

The Moody’s report went on to say that while new casinos will create jobs in their host communities, those jobs may be offset by job losses elsewhere in the state. Opponents of expanded gambling in New Hampshire, including this newspaper, have been saying that for some time.

Existing restaurants will be unable to compete with the typically high-quality, low cost fare offered by casinos, which use gambling earnings to subsidize food costs. Existing entertainment venues won’t be able to compete against casinos for the top acts that keep the budgets of places like the Capitol Center for the Arts in the black. Money lost in casinos by New Hampshire residents is money that won’t be spent in local stores and restaurants. Local economies that don’t host a casino or share in gambling revenues will suffer.

In 2011, the governor of Massachusetts signed legislation that authorizes the opening of three casinos and one slots parlor. Massachusetts residents will vote on whether to repeal the law authorizing casinos in November. Polls suggest the pro-casino vote will be overwhelming, but those casinos, let alone any approved later by the state of New Hampshire, will open in a New England market that gambling analysts say is already oversaturated.

Odds are that it won’t be long before casino owners warn states that they’ll close and throw people out of work unless they can keep a bigger share of the take.

Voters should have just two words for candidates who claim that casinos are the answer to New Hampshire’s financial problems: “You’re fired!”

Legacy Comments16

IF someone wants to open a casino in NH they should be able to do so. The market will determine if they will be successful or not and the state can take it's cut through taxes and fees. But for the state to depend on the tax revenues from casinos as the means to fund the sate. Well that is pure fantasy as any revenue will be unstable and unsustainable long term.

Say what, say-what?! NH should just back off and let the free market handle the casino issue? Under your plan we'd have a so-called "casino" on every corner; Randy's Roulette, Connie's Craps, Jezebel's Blackjack, Tillie's Texas Hold 'em on the River (look for the big yellow fortress, folks!).

Why shouldn't small business have a chance to make money. Why does it need to only be large casino owners that can profit from Gambling? People will gamble if they want to either in a large casino or a small one here or somewhere else. After all almost every mom and pop store in NH is selling lottery and scratch tickets. What's the difference?

say-what, what-say we sandwich your house with two new neighbors; a casino on one side, and a "chicken ranch" on the other?

Why don't you people grow up and stop acting like a bunch of "gotcha" babies.

Gov. Hassan and the NH legislators are looking in all the wrong places for revenues. New Hampshire is a tax haven for foreign-based corporations. Why because NH changed its Business Profits Tax and adopted water's edge combined reporting in 1986 - signed into law by Gov. Sununu. Since 1986, which corporations are now the largest employers in NH? BAE, Freudenberg-NOK, New Hampshire Ball Bearings, Osram Sylvania, SIG Sauer, Lonza Biologics, Goss International, Velcro, Hannaford, Stonyfield, Irving, TD Bank, and more - all foreign owned. Do they pay any BPT? Why would if they can shift all their profits overseas and avoid ALL state & federal income taxes? Profits earned in the US but never repatriated - not with a foreign parent. Is it any wonder why so many US-based corporations like Medtronic are moving overseas via tax inversions?

Well I am not sure about the other corporations you mentioned and I don not feel like looking them up. But Stonyfield is definitely not foreign owned. It is owned by Gary Hirshberg and head quartered in Londonderry, NH.

maybe you should look things up more...you are quite wrong

Tillie - Group Danone, a french corporation, acquired 40% of Stonyfield in 2001 and another 45% in 2004. Go online and check it out. Gary Hirshberg probably owns the remaining 15%.

You shattered her world, the hero of the far Left, seems as if Hirscberg is a corporatist, was involved in shipping jobs overseas and a sell out. Why no criticism from the Left.

no you are wrong...no one has to look up anything....so just take it back...

Tillie probably gets her infro from the same place as Walter - a decades old library book

Sorry didn't know that.

good thing a conservative didnt try to tell you that (well I did but it wont show up for a few days) you'd deny it to your grave...but "Sorry didn't know that" would be a good epitaph.

But Stonyfield is definitely not foreign owned. It is owned by Gary Hirshberg and head quartered in Londonderry, NH sez you..lol

read the whole thing....one thing missing...shouldnt people be free to make the decision on how they spend their own money???

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