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Can Massachusetts Hit The Jackpot?

Gov. Deval Patrick's plan for the state to license three gambling casinos does not mean casinos are a sure bet in Massachusetts. What is certain is that the debate over gambling will be intense.

Supporters say casinos will bring jobs and revenue — money Massachusetts is already losing to the big casinos in Connecticut. Opponents say the increased public safety and social costs of gambling would offset any gains. Do you gamble? Do you think this will change the culture of the state?

Guests:

  • Timothy Cahill,Massachusetts state treasurer
  • Father Richard McGowan, professor of economics at Boston College, author of "The Gambling Debate"
  • Robert Allison, chairman of the history department at Suffolk University

David Boeri and Claudine Ebeid investigated the gambling scene at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. They met a cab driver who ferries gamblers to and from the casino. He had a trunk full of stories:

cabbie1.mp3

And Connecticut state Sen. Andrea Stillman provided insight on how casinos have changed her district:

stillman_new.mp3

Plus, gambling has had a long, lucky streak in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. At one time, all 13 colonies were funded, in part, by lotteries. So was the Continental Army and the Harvard Libraries. In more recent history, the state legalized charitable gambling in 1971. Almost half the charitable licenses are held by religious organizations, including the Catholic church.

Radio Boston's Meghna Chakrabarti went to St. Agatha's Parish in Milton for a Monday night Bingo game. She came back with a bag full of stories and pictures.

Bingo At St. Agatha's Parish

"Casinos are going to kill Bingo," one man told her. "And let me tell you, the bingo put a lot of roofs on churches and a lot of kids through parochial school."

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