Hang tough on casino repeal referendum by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

slotmachinesApparently, the number of Massachusetts voters willing to accept casinos has grown from 37 percent to 53 percent, that according to a Boston Herald poll.  I had even begun to think that, well, if Springfield needs jobs and wants casinos, why repeal its opportunity to have them?  Same thing with the slots parlor in Plainville.  Probably the gambling industry is counting on us at this point to take the line of least resistance, especially in the face of millions of dollars in cleverly deceptive ads now flooding the air waves to defeat the casino repeal referendum.

An article in The Weekly Standard   is a must-read antidote for such wavering.  It’s amazing to think that such a sleazy, counter-productive, meretricious job creation strategy could turn out to be the most significant legacy of Deval Patrick’s two terms as governor (notwithstanding his significant achievements in green energy), if  the casino repeal referendum fails.

That same Herald poll showed that roughly a third (give or take) of voters support ballot questions on repeal of casinos, eliminating the gas tax CPI indexing law, and expanding the bottle bill.  On all three referenda, between 51 percent and 58 percent are opposed.  The lack of differentiation among the responses reminds us that, when voters are asked to make any change, our first instinct is to say No.  Depending on the wording of the question, this can be a good thing or a bad thing.  In the case of repealing casinos, voting no isn’t such a great idea.

Former Speaker Sal DiMasi, now languishing cancer-ridden in federal prison in North Carolina doing eight years for corruption,  had actually saved the state from casinos and Governor  Patrick from himself. Successor Speaker Bobby DeLeo pushed through the current three-casino law in a sentimental tribute to his father, who had worked at a restaurant at Suffolk Downs, which claimed it couldn’t survive without the introduction of casinos.

I wonder: if Speaker DeLeo had known that the Gaming Commission would award the casino bid to Everett, not to Suffolk Downs, would he have been so quick to throw his arms around the gambling industry? Especially given the number of casinos that have gone belly up of late, having sucked legitimate jobs out of local communities? Even Donald Trump bailed out of Atlantic City.  What does he know that Massachusetts voters are turning a blind eye to?

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