Learning from Casinos
I've never been a big fan of casinos. I tend to look at most forms of gambling as a tax on the statistically challenged and worry about the negative impact casinos can have on a community. Yet when approached wisely, as a place of entertainment, where patrons go in with a fixed budget they are planning on spending on their entertainment casinos can add some value. When they treat their workers well and have good labor relations, they can also improve the employment situation in an area.
Unfortunately, casino executives, like too many other executives, only focus on the employment aspects or other positive benefits they might bring to the community when they are lobbying for tax breaks or other special considerations from the government. The rest of the time, they focus on profits at the expense of the broader stakeholders in their enterprises.
This was illustrated to me yesterday in a press release I received from State Representative Linda Gentile. Rep. Gentile is one of the two State Representatives serving the city of Derby. I am seeking to join her as the junior member of the Derby delegation. (My district also includes all of Woodbridge, so I hope to be the sole representative of the Woodbridge delegation, and part of Orange so I hope to be one of three representatives in the Orange delegation.)
A couple months ago, there was an article in the Boston Globe, Have Mass. casinos become a risky bet?.
It starts off
Scott Butera is nothing but blunt when it comes to explaining what casino operators want from their customers — “their wallet and their spend.”
The chief executive of Foxwoods Resort Casino is also candid about customers he can do without — for example, those stereotypical busloads of senior citizens who show up with walkers and oxygen tanks….
It’s because those darn elders don’t gamble away enough of their money to help Foxwoods reach its goal…
Sarah Muoio, the executive director of the Derby Senior Center sent a letter to Derby State Representatives Gentile and Klarides which ends off with
I hope we can urge Foxwoods to terminate Mr. Butera. Offending the fastest growing population in the country is not good for business nor is it very respectful. I think this heartless, insulting man should be terminated for his disrespectful comments.
In yesterday's press release, Rep. Gentile issued the following statement:
I’m outraged by these disrespectful remarks and encourage Derby and all seniors to boycott Fowoods until they receive a public apology
Besides looking for an apology, the State should reconsider the estimated $15 million in tax breaks that it gave to the casinos early this year.
Organizations need to be much more sensitive to the clients they serve, and, if they are receiving tax breaks, to all the taxpayers in the State.