Letter: The view from Connecticut
I grew up in Preston, Conn, where most residents worked for defense contractors or for one of the local dairy farms that used to dot the area. When the Cold War ended and defense companies were laying people off, locals wondered where the next big employer would come from.
Then came the casinos. Everyone thought the streets would be paved with gold, and if you didn’t have a job you didn’t want one. I worked at Foxwoods as a security officer for just a little above minimum wage. Each day as I stood my post I noticed the same faces. Did these people have so much money they could afford to throw it away? The house never loses.
In less than a year I had enough of the drunken patrons, smoke and never-ending sound of slot machines. Once the casinos had exhausted the local employment pool (most everyone quits), they began bringing in workers from other countries who brought their families as well. This created a new set of problems, including language barriers in schools, interpreters needed for 911 operators and hospitals, and the need for more public transportation as the majority of the workers don’t drive. The Connecticut casinos are laying people off, and no further expansion projects are moving forward.
New Hampshire officials should contact the Connecticut State Police and Norwich Social Services and ask about the increase in crime and despair since the arrival of expanded gambling. As a security officer I noticed on the days that Social Security checks are issued it’s busier with people trying to double the only income they have. The house never loses. I hope New Hampshire looks before it leaps.