Casino Image - GillisPhotos 01by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 9/2011

“Well I got a job and put my money away / But I got debts no honest man can pay / So I drew what I had from the Central Trust / And I bought me and my baby two tickets on that coast city bus… Meet me tonight in Atlantic City.” — Bruce Springsteen, Atlantic City

I write these words not to any particular elected official, board member, or organization, but to everyone in Foxboro. This one may be a little all over the place, so bear with me. It’s from the heart.

People of Foxboro, PLEASE do not even consider building a casino in Foxboro. It will be the beginning of the end for this town.

I’m not a Foxboro “townie” but have made this village my home these past 20 years. My love of Foxboro is well known.

While Foxboro has changed much in two decades, it still holds onto many of its small town characteristics, it’s “Mayberry” charm. Patriot place is classy. Our new post office incorporated architectural facades to honor our past. The new senior center likewise is beautiful. Chestnut Green is remarkable. Plans for the new library take into account our history and how well the new building will fit in the old neighborhood. It seems that when new development is underway here in town, measures are made to ensure the new construction fits in with the old.

Like all towns, we have seen good times and bad. We fight amongst ourselves, but Foxboro is unique because united we can do anything. Look at the 9/11 memorial a few weeks ago. THAT was what we can accomplish as a community. We are blessed with so much generosity and abundance. For uncountable reasons, this is indeed, a great place to live.

Build a casino here and that will change. It is the road to hell. It’s George Bailey wandering the altered streets of his beloved Bedford Falls and seeing “Girls, Girls Girls” and gambling dens.

I’m not overreacting here. I’m not being funny. I’m honestly worried. I can see the future, and I don’t want to live here when it arrives.

I have no moral opposition to gambling; it’s your money, do what you want with it.

But I’ve been to Atlantic City exactly once, back in the 80s. First thing we were told? DO NOT go off the boardwalk after dark. Because two steps outside the bright lights and excitement is the worst poverty I have ever seen in the United States. Atlantic City was promised a lot to get those Casinos built. All of the promises made to improve the surrounding poor neighborhoods were forgotten once the Casinos went up.

I also visited Las Vegas once, also in the 80s, and have made several trips to Foxwoods to see concerts. Being in a casino is fascinating. After I gamble (and lose) my usual $20 on 25 cent poker machines, I like watching the “high rollers” play and I’m always amazed by the dead, robot look in so many gambler’s eyes as they keep pulling the arm of the one-armed bandits. I am stunned to watch people who are not wealthy gambling away a mortgage payment on a hand of blackjack.

New jobs? Please — as what, card dealers and housekeeping staff? Economic benefit to the town? Please – it just means thousands more people on route one all day and night and stretching our excellent fire and police departments even further. Any monetary compensation will be mitigated by bottlenecks on route one all the empty promises that go unfulfilled.

Casinos: Glitzy flashing lights, free watered down drinks and a million perfectly legal tricks to separate you and your hard earned cash. What’s next? Elvis impersonators, legalized prostitution and our own Sphinx and Eiffel Tower?

Do you want Route One in Foxboro to look like Route One Saugus, or the Las Vegas strip?

Step by step, day by day, we’re losing what makes this town special.

We’re about family, about community. Casino gambling destroys lives. It destroys families.

You want a Casino? Build it someplace else. You want to go to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun? No one is stopping you. Have fun. Look, if you have the discretionary cash and want to gamble, go ahead. I buy a few scratch tickets myself once in a while. I once won $500 on Keno but probably spent twice that over the years on losing tickets.

The promise of the get-rich-quick and the bright neon lights are an illusion. A deadly, evil illusion.

Lest you forget, as a town we commissioned a detailed, comprehensive study several years ago, and based on the findings, we voted overwhelmingly NOT to have a racetrack/”Racino” here because of the POSSIBILITY that if the State ever approved slot machines, the racetrack would install them – and we didn’t want that. Well, the day of approved casino gambling in this state came sooner than expected – looks like our paranoia was well founded.

Bring the casino here, and ten years from now, twenty years from now, we’ll look back and say, “That was the beginning of the end, when we approved the casino.”

Well, YOU’LL say that. By that time, many of us will have moved away.

Think about it. PLEASE, just think about it. Make a decision based not on quick money now, but good planning for the next generation, and the next.

A Casino in Foxboro is a losing bet for all of us.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Spread the love
Hello There!

Web Analytics