NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. SCHURGA: Yes. I would like to thank the board for inviting me, and the Massachusetts State Lottery.
Approximately nine years ago I purchased my first convenience store, it was an up and running store, it did a fairly good business. But it didn't have Lottery and everybody told me I should add Lottery, which I did. And over the next few years, between the Lottery sales and the increase in business, I was able to take a store that had run with four employees to 16 employees.
Also, with the additional profit that I made from the store I was able to purchase another store. The other store I purchased was a mom and pop store that sold wine and beer and they were only open 9:00 to 5:00 and they also didn't have Lottery and I put Lottery in there. And that store became very successful. Now we took a two man store and we turned that one into a 25 employee store because we added sandwiches and pizza and things of that nature.
From there I purchased a third store where there had been a fire, they had gone out of business, they had done a reasonably good business. I went back in and remodeled, put the Lottery back in. We pumped it up and we were able to make a profit from that store.
The fourth store that I bought was a friend of mine, his father was ill, and they asked me if I was interested in buying the store. I went down and I purchased the store, I remodeled, I increased the size of the Lottery and that worked.
Now, within nine years, I have just purchased my fifth store and that store is also up and running very well. And most of it due to the Lottery sales and the profits the store can make from the Lottery. Now, every one of these stores that I've purchased I have increased the number of personnel by a minimum of four times. With the additional Lottery sales that we have, I am able to pay my part time employees more than other places pay them. I have part time people that have been with me for nine years and as I open other stores, if it's located close to one of their houses, they move to another store or they become a manager.
If I did not have the Lottery in these five stores, three of them right now, would go out of business, without a doubt, they would not make it. The Lottery is one of the things that are keeping the stores alive. I've never run into any problems, we have had problems with some people we think gamble too much, we instruct them that if they need help they should seek help. But for the most part, over the years I see the same people every day. And what I see is that they have a few extra bucks to spend, it's not hurting them, and if they choose to spend it on a few Lottery tickets, that's their business.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you very much, Mr. Schurga.
Next is Mr. Richard Delorge.