Here is John Ribeiro Jr’s, (Former City Council Candidate for East Boston) Editorial Against The Suffolk Downs Casino. Please read and share with family and friends.
Protecting our Dignity by Voting “No” on the Casino
John Ribeiro Jr.
Dignity is our self-respect, and with it we will all have equal dignity.
Dignity is the ability to understand reality. We make decisions according to reality or truth and reflect on those decisions as to whether they are right or wrong–that is self-respect. The more clearly we see the reality in the world, the better equipped we are to deal with the world. However, the less clearly we see reality in the world, the more we will be confused by falsehoods, misperceptions, and illusions, which will make us less able to determine the correct course of action and make wise decisions.
Casino Gambling is an insidious lifestyle which causes gradual harm and is not immediately noticed–the end game of slot machines is to take all of our money. The machines dispense money on a random (reinforced) schedule which is programmed to cause addictive behavior and the program is always in favor of the house.
The Gambling behavior is self-reinforcing and addictive. It activates the brain to secrete dopamine and serotonin which causes pleasure and excitement. This addiction is very difficult to extinguish, hence the origins of pathological Gambling. Multiple neurotransmitter systems are involved in the pathophysiology of pathological gambling (Potenza 2001)
The cost of Gambling is the heaviest on the poor–“Players with household incomes under $10,000 bet nearly THREE TIMES as much as those with incomes over $50,000.” (National Gambling Impact Study Commission Final Report, U.S. Senate 6/23/99 p.119) Those who were kept deprived and needy were those that became more easily addicted.
The National Gambling Impact Study (NGIS) was mandated by Congress in 1996. This was a two year study on the social and economic impacts of Gambling in the U.S. It was founded through research (not opinion) that pathological gamblers cannot control their impulse to gamble; hence, bringing ruin on themselves and their families; their jobs; their savings; their relationships; and their dignity.
Pathological gamblers hurt not only themselves and their families but society as a whole, i.e.: unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, physical and mental health problems, theft, embezzlement, bankruptcy, suicide, violence, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. It has also been associated with alcohol and drug abuse. This pathology is not only exhibited in adults but in adolescents as well–over one million adolescents.
In 1999, the National Gambling Impact Study (NGIS) asserted in their study (on page 114), that Gambling establishments coercive behavior amounts to exploitation. And that pathological Gambling is now recognized by the AMA (American Medical Association) as a medical disorder.
Now one might say that each person has a free choice, however, the Casino establishment relies not only the addictive behavior that comes from gambling but the use of advertising establishments to allure us in their view of life: promises of glamour and excitement, titillation of sensual desires, and the yearning for wealth. Their advertising methods are used to confuse us; and to create misperceptions and illusions. Their objective is to blur our perception of reality to their misperceptions, hence stealing us our dignity.
We have a responsibility to examine our perceptions closely so that our decisions rely on the reality in the world; and not to their lies and emotional coercion.
We must protect our dignity!
John Ribeiro Jr. is a Retired Probation Officer and a proud Eastie Bostonian. He has worked and intervened in the comorbid effects of gambling for 47 years, as a Probation Officer, and has worked side by side with Mental Health workers in the fight to stop addictions.