NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
MR. O'BRIEN: Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you.
MR. O'BRIEN: I'm a Lottery agent for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I've been an agent for 19 years. I'm in a suburb of Boston, Foxboro, it's a small town, it's home of the New England Patriots but it's a small town. When I was originally asked to speak today, and now that I'm here I'm hearing about the casino, I thought it was just about the Massachusetts State Lottery, I didn't realize it, so I'm going to change my original speech.
As I said, I've been here for 19 years and I've seen it grow from a small portion of my business to a large portion. The Massachusetts State Lottery, it seems to me, a private sole-proprietor businessman, is very well run, a lot of support. In our store, it's a small store but we have Keno, we have posted signs for anyone who has any gambling problems to call a 1-800 number if there is any compulsion, or any problems, which I think is good. It's posted throughout the store, the Lottery supports that, makes sure that that is posted throughout the store. As I said, over the years it has grown to be a bigger portion of my business.
Also, I was a former chairman of the finance committee in my town, from 1990 to 1993, and you see such a, what percentage of the money goes to cities and towns to support the schools or the fire department or the police department or public works, et cetera. Without that money, I can't image what the Commonwealth would do, it would be a large tax increase. We have now a five percent, it would probably be seven percent without the Lottery. Over the years it has grown a little bit each year, so the towns have been able to count on a growth going back to the local towns to support these programs.
As far as sitting here and listening to talk about a casino I can't imagine what it would do to the State Lottery. To me, it would devastate it, there are only so many dollars, I think, that could be spent for gambling. And at least now -- per capita we have the highest percentage per capita for any lottery in the United States and I think it is due to the fact that it is so well run.
As a Lottery agent, I'm on the side complaining that there is not enough Lottery advertising, at least in Massachusetts, on the Lottery, I think their advertising budget is very low, and again, resulting in a bigger return to the cities and towns in the commonwealth.
I mean, I think it's good that you're going around, I imagine, throughout the country, getting opinions from other people throughout the country. But I think in this state it has worked well, people enjoy gambling, people feel it's fun, it's relaxation and I think it's just a way of life, it's a freedom that we have in this country that anyone, no matter what, if they have a dollar they have a chance to become a multimillionaire. Then again, if you have a problem, you have resources to deal with it, whether it be gambling or gamblers anonymous, I think they should support those problems also.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Thank you.That is our final witness for the evening. I'd like to thank the Commissioners--
MR. WILHELM: Madame chair, we've got a Nevada majority, can't we vote on something?
COMMISSIONER LANNI: We do at the end of every meeting.
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: That speaks well of the Nevada contingent.
I'd like to thank the staff of the Westin for all their logistical help and also thank the National Gambling Commission staff, it is a very small staff indeed and I know you have all worked very hard and it is very much appreciated, not only by the Commissioners but by the citizens who you work on behalf of. With that, the Commission meeting is adjourned.
(Whereupon, at 5:30 p.m., the meeting was adjourned.)