Mohegan Sun settles in for the long haul.
Not to be outdone by Deval Patrick's crushing defeat in last session's casino war, gambling barons from over the border have set up shop in lovely little Palmer Massachusetts, and taken out a 50 year lease on some property where they'd like to put yet another casino.
Now, obviously we'd have to be talking about a commercial casino since the Mohegan Tribe is located more than 25 miles away from Palmer, and besides, I suspect they'd have a hard sell trying to convince the BIA that they need another billion dollar casino in order to support a tribe of 1,700 people.
But no matter to the Mohegans. Because they have a lot of confidence. No, not in the economy (especially since that's already contributed to their decision not to build another hotel at the Sun, not to mention financial woes all the way to Las Vegas), but in something a little more tangible.
Because these guys know that sooner or later, some politician somewhere is going to go looking for that big chunk of cheese that'll make all of his or her problems go away - not unlike Governor Weicker of Connecticut who valiently fought the Pequots and Class III gambling for years - until he needed help with a budget shortfall.
And they know they can count on other elected officials - much like our own Reps. Canessa, Calter, Flynn and Pacheco - to underestimate costs and impacts to (and the potential of) the folks and the places they represent. And there's always others who won't do any homework at all - but will cite a certainty or a sense of inevitability.
And certainly, certainly, enough time you will produce a useful somebody to look the other way or even actually give you a hand.
Because hey, the casino industry keeps it's finger on the pulse of the dark side. They keep a lookout for Tribes with potential highway access. They take the clocks away and bring back smoking. They make death threats and float rumors about the people who stand in their way. They keep building a better
So taking out a 50-year lease in a small town and waiting for someone foolish enough to come looking for crumbs in a room with cat sitting there waiting - well as far as the casino industry is concerned - that's a safe bet.
But it's OK, because both the useful and the amoral all have a plan so that no one gets hurt - most especially them. They will be smarter, wiser, more prepared. Casinos won't control them - hell no - they'll control the casinos. Let the casinos work for us! Here, rub some of that magic mitigation on and it will keep you safe. No sense letting all that cheese go to waste. There's so much to be gained! It all makes perfect sense!
Except that, in the end, it doesn't. Like a cat patiently stalking the mouse, waiting for him to make that oh so predictable move toward the cheese or crust of bread, he knows the costs. And he's well familiar with the impacts. He's seen this before. But that's why the cat can spend all day stalking the mouse. He's got a lot less to lose.
And that's why Mohegan Sun is now so willing to wait patiently for enough of our State legislators, local officials and other assorted useful somebodies to take a well planned, excuse-laden moral nosedive - and they can make a meal of our state.
Which, despite the proud example of so many of our legislators during the recent gambling debate, has long made me wonder - could the real reason so many folks see gambling as inevitable here in the Bay State be because the faith they've placed in our leadership - faith to do the right thing, to keep us safe, to protest what is wrong, to stand up to the lure of big money, to be smarter, wiser, to work harder and more creatively, and to be men and not mice - has been shaken so many times. And not only here, but across the country and in DC, too. It's almost as if many of us won't even bother setting high or even acceptable standards for our leaders anymore. At least not around Middleboro, and maybe not even Palmer.
And when your expectations sink that low, isn't there really only one ending to the story.