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letters | Will we learn to stop worrying and love slots?

Globe opposes slots, so it picks the worst plan?

RE “IF we must build a slot parlor. . .” (Editorial, Feb. 2):

As the town manager of Plainville, one of the host communities vying for the state’s sole slot parlor license, I trust I can be forgiven for disagreeing with the Globe’s endorsement of a rival plan. But my disappointment stems primarily from the editorial’s attitude . As evidence, I only need point to the first line: “Massachusetts doesn’t need a slot parlor. The Legislature never should have included one in the 2011 gambling law.”

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After beginning with those words, the editorial dismissed the geographical and marketing advantages of Plainville and Raynham and raised dubious arguments in Leominster’s favor. In other words, we don’t want a parlor, but if we must, let’s put it in the least advantageous location possible.

But the fact remains that geography dictates that both Plainville and Raynham are better situated to repatriate dollars lost to Rhode Island and Connecticut, as well as the direct and indirect jobs associated with them.

What seems to have the Globe most exercised is that the 2011 law took steps to preserve horse racing in Massachusetts. Nine percent of revenue from any slot parlor will go to the racing industry. And, yes, in Massachusetts the horse racing industry is in decline. But in Massachusetts, the forestry industry will never successfully compete with Oregon, and the agricultural sector won’t threaten California. Yet each of these industries is given specific tax opportunities not only for the jobs that they preserve, but for the open space they protect and the quality of life that protection enhances. But unlike agriculture and forestry, where those tax exemptions are simply shifted to remaining property taxpayers, the preservation of more than 70 horse farms reliant on the racing industry will be accomplished through a tax on those who volunteer to pay it by playing slot machines.

Joseph E. Fernandes


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