It looks like political correctness is alive and well in Massachusetts, judging by some of the proposals being floated during the Senate’s ongoing casino debate.
Sprinkled among the 164 amendments filed by members are some ideas that can only solidify Massachusetts’ reputation as “the nanniest of all nanny states.”
Casino supporters are counting on generating hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenues for the state’s coffers through expanded gaming. But some of the politically correct amendments being thrown around would sabotage those efforts by making the licensing fees virtually worthless and driving potential developers (and gamblers) out of state.
Take, for example, the Senate’s vote to ban smoking at casinos. The original Senate bill allowed casino operators to set aside up to 25 percent of their gaming floors as designated smoking areas, but the PC police weren’t satisfied with having a guaranteed 75 percent smoke free environment, and decided to push for a complete smoking ban instead.
So now, gamblers won’t be able to light up at all – and Senate Ways and Means Chairman Steven Panagiotakos is estimating this brilliant move will cut $95 million right off the top of the state’s casino take. What a great idea: Ban smoking at Massachusetts’ casinos and see the potential profits go up in smoke! You have to wonder whether some of these politically correct legislators have ever even set foot inside a casino.
But the nattering nabobs of nannyism didn’t stop there. They also want to prevent casino operators from offering complimentary promotional drinks to patrons who are wagering on the game floor. Just another example of how the PC crew is looking to operate Massachusetts’ casinos on a completely different business model than what has worked so successfully all across the country. We’re surprised they’re not pushing for a total alcohol ban and limiting the beverage selection to healthy fruit drinks.
In addition to making sure people can’t smoke or drink in casinos, some Senators also want to affix warning labels on the front of every slot machine. Those labels would include a disclaimer warning players that gambling may be addictive.
Perhaps the most head-scratching proposal is an amendment that would limit the casinos’ operating hours. The original language called for the casinos to be open from only 8 a.m. until noon (we can only hope this was a misprint), but the redrafted amendment isn’t much better because it would prohibit gambling between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.
What’s next? A requirement that the food served at casinos be limited to trans fat-free tofu?
Only in Massachusetts!