City Manager Jay Ash and Anti-Casino Advocate John Ribeiro – of Winthrop – squared off on casinos Sunday morning, July 27, on Channel 5’s popular ‘On the Record’ news magazine show.
Hosted by Ed Harding and Janet Wu of Channel 5, the show typically focuses on two issues for 30-minutes apiece. Last Sunday, Ash stood in as the person advocating for casinos, and Ribeiro held sway with the anti-casino voice.
There was no winner, but Ash said he didn’t agree with Ribeiro’s facts and didn’t feel he could back them up.
“I have a lot of facts on my side,” he said. “I admire John for being in the fight and think our society would be much better if more people became involved in issues as he has done. However, the facts just didn’t bear out in the stories he was telling. He kept talking about budget deficits in other states and that was a reason we shouldn’t have gaming in Massachusetts. I don’t know how that correlates here. There was a Great Recession and that hit every state’s budget in a very negative way. No one has ever suggested Massachusetts’ budget issues would be fully solved by introducing casinos. It’s always been suggested as one part of the solution.”
In one of the more popular segments of the show, the hosts give a five question quiz to the guests. That has been a source of embarrassment for some guests that didn’t do so well on the quiz. However, both Ash and Ribeiro got a perfect score.
Ash also reiterated his stance on casinos and that he believes there is too much money going to gaming facilities in Connecticut and Rhode Island that should be staying in Massachusetts to ease budget pains and create gaming jobs.
“There are seven million trips per year to Connecticut and Rhode Island casinos from Massachusetts,” he said. “That tells me there is a huge market here and many people who would stay local and leave their tax dollars and fund jobs here in Massachusetts and the local community. That’s why we should be continuing to pursue casinos in Massachusetts.”
All in all, Ash said it was a great discussion and there were no winners, but just a good conversation on the issue.
“I disagree with his facts, but there were no mistakes made,” said Ash. “There was no smoking gun revealed. It was more of a conversation than a debate.”