Residents Say Yes to Casino in an Unofficial Chamber Poll

Thursday, January 12, 2012
By Joe Domelowicz

A thoroughly unscientific Winthrop Chamber of Commerce poll, placed on the organization’s website about one year ago, reveals that a majority of the respondents favor a resort-style casino at Suffolk Downs with only a small minority of respondents voting against any gambling at all.

The poll asks respondents to answer in one of four ways, 1) In favor of a resort-style casino at Suffolk Downs, 2)In favor of a slots parlor at Suffolk Downs, 3) Opposed to gambling at Suffolk Downs, because it is a bad location, or 4) Opposed to all gambling.

Chamber Executive Director Eric Gaynor noted the poll was put up on the website last year, when the state legislature and Governor Deval Patrick failed to come up with a compromise that would have legalized gambling then.

However, now a little more than 12 months later and with a gambling bill passed in the legislature and signed by Governor Patrick, the limited sampling of answers does seem to indicate an acceptance of gambling in the Town.

“First of all, we want to make sure that people understand this was a totally unscientific poll,” explained Gaynor. “We put the poll on the website just to see, kind of what people’s attitudes to the whole debate were and we left it up there, because the debate continued.”

To date just 226 visitors to the Chamber website have decided to participate in the poll, but of those participating, 56.1 % of respondents favored a resort-style casino at Suffolk Downs and another 6.5% said they were in favor of a slots parlor at the location.

Of those opposing, 30 % said they opposed gambling at Suffolk Downs because it is a bad location and just 7.4% said they were opposed to gambling entirely.

“At the time, we just wanted to see if people were opposed to gaming entirely, or just to the idea of a slots parlor at Suffolk Downs,” explained Gaynor. “The results seem to indicate that people are mostly in favor of a resort-style casino, because of the possibility of extra tourism the casino could generate, but a slots parlor seems to have more of a negative image.”

Anyone interested in signing in an expressing their opinion on the poll can do so by visiting www.winthropchamber.com.

New phonebooks could be out in February

ON a separate issue, Gayor said this week that the 2012 Winthrop Chamber of Commerce “Neighborhood Numbers” phonebook could be out as early as late February, if the weather continues to hold out.

Often cited by the Chamber as Winthrop’s “Real” local phone book, the Neighborhood Numbers book has been closed for new advertisements and phone listings and the book is in the pre-production and layout stage.

“Right now, we’re having the book laid out, which is a time consuming process in of itself, because we have so much information to put into the book and we have to make sure everything fits and that all of the information is up to date and accurate,” said Gaynor.

This year’s phone book will be about 312 pages when it is completed and will contain more than 300 advertisements from local businesses. The phone book also undertook an aggressive “opt-in” program for cell phone users who do not have traditional “landline” telephones. According to Gaynor, the Chamber saw a large increase in the numbers of local residents

That chose to list their personal cell phone numbers with their names in the book.

“Last year, the weather really slowed down our distribution of the phone book, because we rely on a delivery company to drop off the books door to door and with all of the snow we received, many of the books were not out until mid-March,” said Gaynor.

The mild weather this year and the timely closing of the book for advertisements and new listings, means the book could be delivered to door steps by mid or late February, as long as production continues smoothly and ‘old man winter” continues to take it easy on us.

  • Alfie King

    wonder how many of the 56% voted three or four times…. a poll that is posted for 12 months??? the entire scenario is a hoot and the fishwrapper ought to know better than to run a supposedly real story about it…

  • Elizabeth

    Why do you say that the majority of “residents” favor the casino. 

    There is no way to tell who was voting in this poll – Winthrop residents, casino investors, or people getting paid through Mechanical Turk.  Most residents probably never even knew that the poll was there, and as Alfie pointed out below, the poll might have allowed one person to vote multiple times. 

    Despite your claim that “the limited sampling of answers does seem to indicate an acceptance of gambling in the Town”, the poll actually indicates nothing. A decent reporter should have known that. 

  • Kathysmall

    I took that poll and so didn’t a friend of mine from Raynham! She answered YES on all questions. She didn’t care if there was a casino here as long as it wasn’t near her. So much for your polling results.

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