I have never liked the idea of casinos in Massachusetts. I remember when they were going to save Atlantic City. So now there is a nice strip along the boardwalk and the rest of the City and residents are in poor shape. And resort casinos will have to go through a process including environmental reviews, design reviews, negotiations with the localities where they want to go. At best, we are a couple of years away from even construction jobs. And with casinos in Rhode Island and Connecticut, are there enough people who want to gamble to create sufficient revenue?
This from the Boston Globe this morning on House Speaker Robert DeLeo
DeLeo initially wanted to authorize two resort-style casinos and license the state’s four racetracks to operate slot machines. He eventually agreed on a bill to allow three casinos and two slot licenses. Patrick said he would sign a bill with only one slot license. After the Legislative session ended Saturday, he withdrew his compromise and sent a bill back that had no slot licenses. The Legislature would have to muster a two-thirds vote to override Patrick. DeLeo said he does not expect a return to session, meaning the bill is likely dead.
HOUSE SPEAKER Robert DeLeo’s decision to put the needs of the state’s racetracks ahead of all other interests is a staggering example of why voters worry about legislative excesses. His stubbornness has hurt his party and put a governor of his own party in a terrible bind. Thus, it’s a relief that Governor Patrick is standing up forcefully to the speaker, and he must continue to do so.
DeLeo has tried to corner Patrick into approving a gambling bill that allows slot-machine parlors at racetracks, insisting in a statement that a veto would “ “kill the prospects of 15,000 new jobs’’ and money for local aid. But it’s the speaker’s own intransigence that has put at risk the benefits that a more targeted bill could create. Patrick supports the licensing of three resort casinos, which would represent an enormous expansion of gambling in Massachusetts. But DeLeo has deep personal and political connections to the racing industry; his father worked in it, and it’s a major presence in his district. And the speaker was unyielding in demanding that racetrack owners be given special consideration in the gambling bill.
We have had the last couple of House Speakers leave under a cloud. I can’t believe that Speaker DeLeo would risk even the appearance of a conflict of interest to get the race tracks in his districts slot machines.
I do play the lottery on occasion and I complete the March Madness bracket every year, but casinos and slot machines have consequences beyond the creation of jobs and revenue for the state. Thank you to my State Reps, Gloria Fox and Jeff Sanchez and my state Senator, Sonia Chang-Diaz for voting no. Thank you also to Governor Patrick for standing on principle.