Letter: Casino would harm local businesses

To the editor:

Restaurants and grocery stores operate on very thin profit margins. For example, a local restaurant might have 70 patrons on a given night. Of the 70, only the last 2 or 3 represent a profit. All the income from the other patrons is used to pay the staff, pay the rent, purchase the food, and pay for all the other things that accompany owning a business.

Now we have couple “A”, from Jaffrey or Bennington who eat out twice a month. One evening, instead of staying local, they head over to Salem to feed their money into the slot machines set up in a slots barn.

There goes a big chunk of the profit margin for a local eatery for one night. The following night couple “B” does the same thing. The absence of just that one couple per night compounds and soon the restaurant is unable to pay its bills. It lays off a worker or two, it cuts back its portions, it is entering the death spiral and soon it is no more.

That reality is called financial cannibalism, and that is exactly what happens when legalized gambling gets a foothold. It doesn’t just impact its immediate locale with higher crime and stress on the local infrastructure; it reaches far beyond and nibbles away at those thin profit margins of businesses that are already just barely scraping by.

A local state representative said recently, “Hey, if Salem wants a casino, who am I to tell them no?” He needs to say no because the effects of a slots barn in Salem will most certainly impact the Monadnock region as gambling halls slowly cannibalize already thin profit margins of small businesses on this side of Temple Mountain.

Tell your State Representative to vote No on Senate Bill 152.

Ted Leach


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