Are Bristol County and Taunton educators prepared for the onslaught of casino gambling and its impact on the children? Taunton citizens will vote on June 3rd on a non-binding referendum which some local politicians will use as cover to allow the development of a massive casino resort complex planned by the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe.
While the politicians, lobbyists and casino gaming interests prepare for their paydays – parents and concerned citizens need to consider the real and serious costs we’ll face.
Forget the issues of increased traffic, crime and other problems which come hand-in-glove with the creation of an Indian reservation casino complex in Taunton. Are the teachers, parents and students ready to address the increased risks this poses to children?
Are the Taunton School Committee and superintendent Julie Hackett preparing curricula and training staff to identify and address gambling related problems which increase in children when a casino is part of their community? How will the Arch Diocese and independent schools prepare for this problem?
Based on research, evidence and experiences from other locales where casino gambling was introduced, we will see real problems for Taunton area kids:
- Three out of every 30 children will be harmed by gambling addiction.
- Children exposed to gambling are at two to four times higher risks than adults of becoming problem gamblers.
- We can expect to see increased incidents of abuse and abandonment which rise associated with the establishment of casinos.
- Casinos are associated with increased school dropout rates, drug and alcohol abuse and youth crime.
- And, casino gambling is also associated with increased youth suicide rates.
Will Dr. Hackett take a policy stand to limit casino cash influence on the local schools as is recommended by groups like NCAGE and NCALG?
Town streets will be littered with billboards and advertisements, casino buses and other constant reminders for our kids of the gambling activities on the other side of their school playgrounds and parks.
To make matters even worse, the casino proposed for Taunton will be an Indian reservation gaming resort complex. This means hotels, 24 hour bars and restaurants, shops and other attractions – many of which will be open to those under the age of 18 – in addition to the casino. Town ordinances, state and even federal laws protecting children DO NOT APPLY on Indian reservations. Only the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which has a sole focus on getting cash out of Taunton and no other ties to the local community, will have jurisdiction and legal authority to govern what happens on their reservation.