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Tom Cosgrove Headshot

At Least "Mad Men" Smoked

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The popular television program Mad Men shows http://www.amctv.com/shows/mad-men that the men and the women of 1960's Madison Avenue not only gave us rugged cowboys on horseback puffing cigarettes, they also used the product they were hired to sell. And despite its addictive qualities and health concerns, many tobacco executives still smoke.

Not so the "pushers" of the societal addiction of today - slot machines. Slot machines have been called "crack cocaine" the of the gambling industry. So it is no wonder that the "sellers" of this "consumer product" -- casino executives like Steve Wynn, Gary Loveman, and Donald Trump, or politicians like Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo who push slot machines as a solution to finance state government -- don't gamble themselves. These and other facts are detailed in the amusing, yet sad, report "Smartest Guys Not in the Room" http://stoppredatorygambling.org/category/research-center/the-smartest-guys-not-in-the-room/ by the organization Stop Predatory Gambling.

This week the Massachusetts Senate will continue its debate to legalize casino gambling and join 38 other states with casinos or slot parlors.

Massachusetts, long thought to be the bastion of progressive thinking and governance in America, would be wise to look at what's happening in Australia: after years of watching the effects of gambling on its society the country's progressive leaders are now pushing hard to rein in the "pokies," as they call slot machines Down Under. Check out this campaign ad:
http://youtu.be/lpF5uqPHrhA

A 2010 Australian Government report http://stoppredatorygambling.org/research-center/research-center/australian-government-study-shows-predatory-gambling-costing-citizens-4-5-billion-dollars-per-year-the-bulk-of-costs-deriving-from-video-slot-machines/ found gambling from the "pokies" costs Australian society about $4.5 billion dollars per year.

So who wants to wager on which of America's 39 states with legalized slot machines will be the first to either repeal or reform like our friends "Down Under?"