Letter: Say no to casino
At an April 10 press conference announcing the formation of Casino-Free New Hampshire, several distinguished New Hampshire residents explained why it would be a grave mistake to invite casino gambling into our state.
First, there is the uncertain revenue, given the competitive gambling establishments planned by Massachusetts and Maine. Then there are the costs, both in lost dollars and in human pain, associated with gambling addiction, as well as the pressure to build additional casinos. Inevitably, a casino complete with restaurants and entertainment will drain business away from local establishments which enliven and enrich communities throughout our state. Many New Hampshire businesses are already working hard to survive and prosper in a challenging economy.
Alex Ray, owner of Concord’s Common Man restaurant and a well-respected entrepreneur, crystallized the situation when he asked, “When you think of the state of Connecticut, what do you think of?” Instead of picturesque shoreline towns such Old Saybrook where my parents lived, most people today think of Foxwoods and the Mohegan Sun casinos. Is this what we want?
When we moved to New Hampshire from Connecticut in 1978, we moved to a state known far and wide as a marvelous tourist destination with rich natural beauty. In 2011 tourists spent $4.2 billion in New Hampshire. Rather than opening the door to a casino and its societal costs and uncertain revenue, why not support our own tourism industry which relies on the protection of the natural beauty of our state and helps to make New Hampshire one of the healthiest and safest states in which to live?
We have so much more to lose than to gain by inviting casino gambling to forever change the nature of our state.