Massachusetts Legislators Hate Happy Hour and Fun

Seriously, legislators? Seriously!?

Listen, I know you’re all excited about the casino bill. Finally, we’ll be getting a new source of tax revenue! But torpedoing Senator Robert Hedlund’s amendment to legalize happy hour in Massachusetts is beyond senseless. You just decided to legalize gambling, one of the more depraved, albeit fun, activities around. Inside our sparkling new casinos, bartenders and waiters will be plying our citizens with free Budweisers and Jack and Cokes, with one goal: To get them tipsy enough that they’ll keep gambling away their paychecks on slot machines and table games. Gambling, it can be argued, is a tax on the poor, but whatever: The Massachusetts State House has decided, rather reasonably, that people can spend their money on whatever they like.

Which makes the killing of Hedlund’s amendment all the more hypocritical: Casinos can give out free drinks to Massachusetts residents who are gambling, but bars aren’t allowed to sell discounted drinks to residents who are playing Keno or pub trivia? Or, for that matter, folks who just want to enjoy a fine local craft beer — say a Whale’s Tale Pale Ale or an Ipswich Ale — for a few bucks off after a long day at work?

Every other state in America besides teetotalling Mormon-filled Utah has a legalized happy hour, and the last time I checked, the country hasn’t devolved into anarchy. If you’re worried about drunk driving, increase the penalties and add more cops on the roads. Better yet, increase transportation spending, fix the damn T, and let us take the bus or train home. And while you’re at it, maybe add links to the casinos. God knows the gamblers will be enjoying all those free drinks.