Slots make losers out of us


Your glowing account of Hollywood Slots deserves a caveat (April 23). The documented problems associated with casino gambling follow addiction, and addiction to slot machines takes, on average, 14-to-18 months to occur. In other words, the negative impacts from casino gambling – bankruptcies, embezzlement, broken homes, even suicides – take years to develop.

The story was premature.

Nevertheless, there are already disturbing signs. Six people (not three as your report stated) have voluntarily asked to be banished from the premises because they can’t control their gambling. Such is the addictive power – and the personal damage – of slot machines. How many people have to ask their local movie theater to ban them from the daily matinee?

You also report that businesses in the area are doing increased business. Perhaps. But the real impact of the racetrack casino is felt in the communities surrounding Bangor. If people are really putting a million dollars a day through those slot machines, where is that money coming from? Or a better question is, what was all that money being spent on before Hollywood Slots?

My guess is that while some Bangor businesses might be seeing an increase in sales, businesses in towns such as Ellsworth, Newport, Pittsfield, etc., are probably seeing a decline. Casinos don’t create wealth or add to a state’s economy. They just enrich the out-of-state owners of the slot machines, who get 60 percent of the earnings, and make losers of everyone else.

Dennis Bailey, executive director, CasinosNO!, Portland