The Governor and the Speaker have squared off in a steel-cage match of sorts, with last night's legislative-session deadline of midnight passing and neither backing down. Both the House (120-37) and Senate (25-15) passed the final compromise bill -- which would allow for three casinos and two slot parlors in the state -- but Gov. Deval Patrick has said all along that he was leery of slots. He did grudgingly agree to accept one and only if there were a bidding process for the license.
What now? You have to believe that Patrick gamed this out with some plan for victory. He's been pushing expanded gambling -- and courting the blue-collar vote that goes with it -- for three years. He can't allow himself to be seen as the obstructionist when the goal is so close. So he sends back the bill with an amendment that strips one or both of the slot parlors from the proposal, tossing the proverbial ball back into the legislature's court.
House Speaker Bob DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray have both said they would not bring their bodies back in session, but neither of them wants to be the obstacle to passage. They'll make sure it gets done and still be able to say, "Hey, I fought for slots, but it wasn't in the cards." All three leaders will then claim victory.