There's been much speculation in Massachusetts in the past year about the potential benefits and drawbacks of casinos. Shortly after governor Deval Patrick signed the new casino law (view / download .pdf) this week, New England Public Radio's Anne Mostue spoke to the state treasurer about how gambling facilities might affect the state's lottery system,
Massachusetts State Treasurer Steven Grossman says research on whether casinos take away from state lottery revenues is inconclusive. It's not clear whether people who play the lottery will be the same ones who use the casino, and whether they'll choose one over the other.
"I don't think anybody can define what the impact will be. There's no doubt there will be an impact. Comparisons have been made with other states, like Connecticut for example, when they opened two destination casinos and it didn't have too much of an impact on their lottery. Difference, of course, was that their lottery was just in its early stages."
Grossman says Massachusetts has the most robust lottery in the country, distributing almost $900 million in local aid to cities and towns, but it's the 40th state to approve casino gambling. Grossman says he's in favor of casinos because lawmakers predict 15,000 jobs will come from them, and any detraction from the lottery will be several years down the road.