Senator Hwang: Connecticut Democrats’ Casino Plan is a Money Grab with Devastating Social Costs

March 11, 2015

State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28) issued the following statement Wednesday in response to a proposal from Democrats that would open the door to new casinos in Connecticut:

“I am 100% supportive of efforts to bolster our state’s economy and create value-added jobs, but I can’t help and see this as an act of desperation and a lack of vision toward long-term sustainable economic growth for Connecticut. Wooed by the promise of more gambling revenue, legislators behind this proposal appear to be in some zealous race to be the gambling capital of the Northeast. It’s reactive, Band-Aid-approach government at its worst.

“There are many troubling components of this proposal — chief among them is the fact that it would permit up to three facilities, not just one near our border with Massachusetts, and at unspecified locations with no agreement yet on the state’s revenue share.

“Let’s be honest too, once you move beyond the ramped up rhetoric in the Democrats’ proposal, this is a blatant and disillusioned money grab. While I certainly appreciate the tremendous role Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun play in Connecticut’s tourism industry, I can’t help but see this as a bailout for two casinos that are facing increased competition from neighboring states. The state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, and this proposal does just that. Ultimately though, if this were approved, I fear that the residents and businesses of Connecticut will be on the losing end.

“Allowing more casinos in Connecticut will increase the devastating social costs inherent in problem gambling and erode the very foundations on which successful and vibrant communities and economies are built – things like safe neighborhoods, thriving local businesses and healthy family environments.

“I look forward to a full vetting of this proposal at the public hearing next week, and I encourage the people of this state to let their voices be heard during the process.”