Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fools' gold

The revived movement for casino gambling in Massachusetts is about to make its big push and House Speaker Bob DeLeo yesterday aligned himself with Governor Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray. With the big three on board it appears to be only a matter of time before they've sold out the Commonwealth. What a shame.

The Globe just did a story last week on how the Connecticut casinos have been hurt by the poor economy and Twin River in Rhode Island has filed for bankruptcy. Further -- and this point cannot be overstated -- most of the profits from a casino will go to out-of-state casino owners and investors. Whether the state's cut is enough to cover all of the improvements and services necessary and to recoup any fall in the lottery's intake is unclear.

But the state's leaders are plowing ahead, with plans for hearings in October and floor debate before the end of the year. The story said that Deleo believes "that slot machines could be installed quickly at the racetracks, bringing in new revenues, while giving casino companies more time to build resort casinos, which would create new construction jobs."

Former House Speaker Sal DiMasi stopped this from happening last year, but he's gone and it looks like the momentum is too much this time.


Eric said...

I agree with you. And Hizzoner supports a casino in Eastie whereas his opponents do not: I fully agree with Yoon's comment about exploiting people, but I'm cynical enough to believe it's only a matter of time. So much for driving up Rt 1A.

Anonymous said...

Our neighbors' casinos are suffering, Foxwoods especially due to some unwise expansion and borrowing. However we are still in the throes of a recession. I know the Fed Chairman says the recession is likely over, but unemployment is still a major problem, and it's the lack of income that's causing the casinos' losses. People have pulled in their horns and are not spending.

Another potential problem for the casino industry is the fact that we have at least 2 in CT, 1 in RI, a few in NY, so you have to wonder if there are too many, and adding MA casinos to the mix will just divide the limited pot even more. I don't know. It's just a thought.

JohnW said...

If you read the editorial in the East Boston Times, the arrival of a casino at Suffolk Downs will give Boston a "big city persona". It will bring "Money, investment, jobs, future taxes, and everything that comes from a $500 million development at a time when there is virtually no development." And best of all "Not a dime is needed from the state. It is no one’s loss but the investors if every single thing that can go wrong goes wrong."

Gee, it all seems to good to be true! What could possibly go wrong with it?

Traffic concerns are an issue, but not such a big deal. The real issue is whether there truly is "not a dime" of public money going to create the necessary infrastructure to support such a facility. The social issues concerning gambling is not even mentioned here. Do you really think Atlantic City and Vegas have an air of "big city persona" that Boston lacks? And just what is it about retirees gambling away their social security checks and hookers turning tricks in hotels that adds to Boston's "big city persona"?

And that's not even getting into the economic realities of the current market for casinos in this area. This whole endeavor is SO short-sighted and represents such a threat to a decent standard of living in East Boston (and surrounding towns) that it's almost guaranteed to go through, because people around here have their heads up their asses.