Tuesday, May 03, 2005

RAW DEAL: Measuring The Toll Of Connecticut's Casinos

This is an interesting commentary by Jeff Benedict on the country's two largest casinos.

$400 million. That's about how much Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun paid the state last year in slot machine revenue. It's the result of a deal struck in 1993. In exchange for the right to operate slot machines, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe offered the state 25 percent of the slot revenue from Foxwoods. In 1996, Mohegan Sun opened under the same arrangement.

The casinos have not stopped adding slot machines since. Payments to the state have gone up for 10 straight years, making legislators increasingly dependent on the slot revenue to balance the state budget. Today, the two casinos have 13,732 slot machines between them - nearly 5,000 more than five years ago.

Legislators and most taxpayers probably see this as a painless way to raise revenue: All the money comes from people who choose to play. But 12 years into the deal, the state doesn't really know what social cost it's paying.

Read the rest of the commentary at Courant.com by clicking here...


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