Say Yes to New Hampshire. Say NO to Casinos.
Political and Legal Damage
13. Letting big gambling in means political influence, then dominance.
In every state to have legalized them, casinos and legislators have developed excessively close relationships, with gambling interests soon becoming the single most dominating influence.
Unlike any enterprise now allowed in New Hampshire, tens of millions of dollars in tax money would be collected from just one business, making the legislature dangerously dependent on just one (and then more as they proliferate) entities for a highly visible portion of state taxes.
Second, unlike any enterprise now existing in our state, casino profits would be almost wholly determined by government policy: tax rates, casino locations, number and location of competitors, number of allowed slot machines, payout ratios, slot machine design and operation, number and type of allowed table games, license and license renewal fees and terms, casino owner, manager, and investor background checks, infrastructure construction and subsidies, etc.
As a result of this intense, two-way dependency, gambling interests in every casino state become the dominating political influence, elbowing aside the concerns of other constituencies, and the value of our accessible, citizen legislature would become lost.
The National Institute of Money in State Politics (full report, summary data coming soon) found that in the eight states holding referenda on gambling expansion in 2008, the gambling industry outspent opponents of gambling expansion by 48-to-1. The gambling industry’s political modus operandi is to overwhelm opponents with gambling money.
Candidates who refuse direct contributions from gambling interests have found themselves subjected to threats of a barrage of last-minute, industry-funded, negative character assassination campaigns.