Saturday, December 24, 2011

Will Gambling Casinos In Massachusetts Turn Massachusetts Into Another Nevada?

Nevada, New Jersey and Connecticut all have allowed out-of-state developers to build gambling casinos in their states. Yet the official jobless rate in Nevada is 13 percent, the official jobless rate in New Jersey is 9.1 percent and the official jobless rate in Connecticut is 8.4 percent, while the official jobless rate in Massachusetts (where no gambling casinos have yet been built) is just 7 percent. So why is the Massachusetts state government still apparently inviting out-of-state developers to build gambling casinos in Massachusetts; and possibly turn Massachusetts into another Nevada?

In a recent Associated Press article that appeared in the New Zealand Herald, titled “Nevada sits right at the bottom and it’s a long way back,” Cristina Silva indicated how Nevada’s casino gambling-based economy is currently doing:

“…Across this hardest-hit Western state, a battle of perceptions is being waged over whether Nevada is on the edge of recovery, or still falling four years after the collapse of its mighty housing, tourism and construction industries.

“It's a story unfolding across the US, only in Nevada it is worse because the state depends heavily on money spent by people from elsewhere. Nevada continues to top the US in unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates.

“`We are like somebody who is wearing a lead weight. We have jumped off the dock and finally stopped sinking, but that just means we are at the bottom of the sea,’ said Elliot Parker, an economist with the University of Nevada, Reno…

“But the housing market remains in a free fall and workers are either fleeing the state or dropping out of the workforce altogether. Half of all homes are now purchased with cash. The average house price in Las Vegas fell to US$118,213 last month, down from US$329,720 just four years ago…

“`Nevada is about a year behind the rest of the country or even more because we had much deeper, much bigger problems,' Parker said. `We had a steep decline and we have a long way to go to get out of this.’"…

“New unemployment claims more than doubled to 30,190 from January 2007 to January 2010. In all, more than 300,000 Nevadans received jobless benefits last year….

“Nevada's unemployment rate has improved from above 14 per cent to just above 13 per cent in the past year and new jobs have sprouted in the hospitality sector.

But the declining jobless rate can also partly be explained by the state's shrinking workforce. Nevada had nearly 200,000 fewer workers in 2010 than it did in 2007, and that's despite a soaring population during those years…

“Hotel rooms and bar tabs are…nowhere near the rollicking levels of 2007, before tourism dropped and hotels across the Las Vegas Strip closed or filed for bankruptcy.

“The Nevada Gaming Control Board recently estimated that casinos statewide made US$53.8 million less from gamblers in September than they did a year ago, a 6 per cent drop. In Northern Nevada, which has struggled to fight off the rise of Indian casinos in California, some casinos saw revenues drop 14 per cent.

“For unemployed Nevadans, the state hitting bottom offers little encouragement. Jim Rogers, 49, lost his construction job three years ago. He has been living off money set aside in his retirement account.

“`There are no jobs,’ he said. `The casinos are operating on a meagre staff. Where they used to have 10 people, they now have six people doing the work.’..

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