GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

February 14, 2013

Letter: Slots a losing hand for Danvers


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

Danvers officials are currently meeting with developers to discuss the feasibility of a slots parlor in the Liberty Tree Mall (the Times, Tuesday, Feb. 12).

Residents need to play their cards right on this losing hand.

The developers don’t care about the impact that a slots parlor will have on the quality of life in Danvers and surrounding communities. They don’t care that running 1,250 slot machines 24 hours a day will increase traffic congestion on our already heavily traveled roadways. They don’t care about the property damage and personal injury that increased traffic will bring. Currently, approximately 1,300 traffic accidents are reported to Danvers police each year.

The developers don’t care about the economic and social cost to individuals and their families. In the gambling industry, the “house” always wins. According to a PBS “Frontline” report, gambling in the United States has burgeoned into a $40 billion industry. And a quarter of the profits made by casinos and state lotteries come from gambling addicts. The National Council of Problem Gambling says that “compulsive gamblers cost the country $6.7 billion every year.”

A federal study found that gambling addiction doubles within 50 miles of a casino. Slots, the most popular form of casino gambling, fuel addictive behavior. Fast play, flashing lights, winning sounds and clever animation create excitement. Frequent, small wins and “near misses” give the illusion that playing more means winning more. For a gambler in the “zone,” though, even winning can be an unwanted intrusion, an interruption in the flow of experience. Each day, slots players lose $1 billion: the day’s pay, the weekly paycheck, the monthly mortgage payment ...

A slots parlor in Danvers? The stakes are too high.

The city of Peabody was once known for its productive leather factories. Now it is infamous for its strip joints. The town of Danvers, always a family-centered community, was once derided for its “house” on the hill. We can’t afford to become slots central.

Slots are the “crack cocaine of gambling.” Just say no.

SALLY ANN CONNOLLY

Danvers