And, according to the Rev. Richard McGowan, that Boston College gambling go-to guy, racinos
would have to eventually morph into casinos if they are going to survive.
(Which I could have told you in January of 2009 after attending a presentation of the owner's rhapsodic "vision" of an ever-expanding racetrack hotel resort casino complex.)
So that's two.
Then, and not to be out-done, upon learning of DeLeo's plan, the effervescent Cedric Cromwell, Mashpee Wampanoag tribal chairman reminded us that
Once gaming is expanded, we intend to move forward with our plans to build a full resort-style casino in Southeastern Massachusetts under the rights afforded to us as a sovereign Indian tribe.
And don't forget, there is another federally recognized tribe out there and 6 other Massachusetts tribes seeking federal recognition.
Meanwhile, lest we forget the invariable knee-jerk reaction on the part of our neighbors to the North,
Proponents for legalizing slot machine and casino gambling sweetened the pot Thursday offering to dedicate the first $50 million in taxpayer profit from it to avoid state budget cuts to seniors, the disabled, children and low-income families.(Oh, that is so sweet.)
Simultaneously, down South of the border, seismic shifts in the Mass gambling debate are having a similarly predictable effect.
The opposing side is suggesting the state have a competition for an exclusive casino license in exchange for a $100-million upfront licensing fee. Their legislation even suggests several potential sites, including the Providence waterfront, The Westin Providence hotel and surrounding convention and civic centers; the towns of West Warwick and Johnston and Quonset Point.And so, my friends, as the rabid hyenas of the gambling world wake this morning with renewed hopes of a long-awaited feast on the untouched entrails of Masschusetts, and as golden tails of jobs and aid and revenue are spun by the enchanted denizens of the PR forest, let's remember the plight of little Iowa, where similar dreams once roamed the landscape.
a state of just 3 million people, it has twenty casinos. Despite promises that gambling profits would focus on education, the state still ranks near the bottom in public funding for schools. Iowa wages are well below the national average; prisons are overcrowded; public funding for the arts is among the lowest in the nation; and the state is currently funding a budget crisis of greater magnitude than ours in Massachusetts.Impossible in our fair Commonwealth?
When I was a kid, Massachusetts had a daily lottery number drawing. Today there are in excess of 35 scratch tickets, three bi-weekly games, a multi-state drawing, and a game of keno firing off every 4 minutes.
Casinos and racinos are the most shortsighted and predatory forms of economic development, and if the DeLeo's and Reinsteins of the world have their way, their legacy of shallow reasoning and self-serving low-expectations will be the future our children and grandchildren will live in.