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Left In Lowell » Blog Archive » Governor Patrick Did the Right Thing

Left In Lowell

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August 2, 2010

Governor Patrick Did the Right Thing

by at 4:13 pm.

I don’t know if it’s for the right reasons, but Patrick is sending the casino bill (3 resorts, 2 racinos) back “with amendments” - a procedure whereby without a veto, he can send the bill back to the legislature.

Governor Deval Patrick says he will send an amended gambling expansion bill back to legislators today that would eliminate a provision for two slot machine facilities, and he retracted a previous compromise offer to allow one slot parlor in the state.

“I’m done. I’m done with that,” he said of his earlier offer.

This effectively kills the bill for this legislative session. The legislature would have to be called back into session, something Senate President Murray isn’t interested in, and without racinos, Speaker DeLeo won’t be, either. The Governor has consistently cited racinos to be bad policy (why they are bad and slots at casinos aren’t is for another discussion) and he refuses the no-bid nature of the compromise policy for racinos:

Patrick also reiterated his strong opposition to awarding slot licenses to racetrack owners.

“I’m not going to be a party to no-bid contracts for track owners,” he said.

Maybe now he can finally see the corrupting nature of gambling money in politics. If you think lobbying is a problem, look at the gambling lobby, which uses money sucked up mostly from addicts, and other states have had a lot of corruption surrounding casino interests. (Hell, look at Abramoff!) Heck, we have only to smell the stench of corruption regarding the current Treasurer-turned-gubernatorial-candidate Cahill and the state lottery!

Regardless of why, though, this is the right thing to do, and it kills a bad bill that would have cost the state far too much - in money and in broken lives - in the long run. Massachusetts is better than profiting on the misery of countless new addicts of predatory gambling that casinos and racinos would have created.

13 Responses to “Governor Patrick Did the Right Thing”

  1. Mike Ball Says:

    Just so..good stuff.

    Plus DeLeo is playing puerile games (I’m in charge here!). He’s also just pandering to his constituents and donors angling for two gambling venues in his district. That’s crap to drown the commonwealth so the track owners can walk on their corpses.

  2. C R Krieger Says:

    While I don’t agree with everything in the post, I will say the title captured it.  And, I would add that for the Commonwealth to move forward the Governor is going to have to stand up to the Legislature and turn our form of Government from something like the British Parliamentary system into something more American.

    Good post.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  3. joe from Lowell Says:

    I’m agnostic about gambling. When I see anti-gambling language like Lynne’s, it reminds me a bit of “Reefer Madness” and Drug War language, so that turns me off a bit, but regardless of that:

    I like seeing Deval Patrick showing some stones, though. He’s had a depressing tendency to be a bit of a wimp. I thought this during the campaign, that I would be happier if he’s just hauled off and kicked somebody’s butt, just to show he could, but he never did.

    More like this, please, Governor Patrick.

  4. Say Whaaaat? Says:

    Once again, the donkey party foregoes opportunity to create thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, the new gambling “addicts” Lynne cites will continue their trek to other gaming locations, including out of state casinos and illegal gambling parlors. That’s right Lynne. Illegal gambling is very real and very alive. We still pay the social costs which you so ably describe. Problem is we don’t have the new jobs or instant money to help the rest of the state.

  5. Kim Says:

    I am in favor of gambling but I stand by Governor Patrick on this one. Two tracks wanting slots and two tracks being allowed to have slots with no open bid just stinks of cronyism to me. I also agree that having resort casino’s has much more to offer our economy as a tourism industry( My hubby and I pay to stay at Mohegan twice a year) then your corner slot stop.

  6. Lynne Says:

    Joe, I was agnostic too, until I took a hard look at the arguments of both sides, and what legalized gambling has done to other states, their economies, their budgets, and their citizens. It’s NOT about tourism. Most of the people who will come will be within 50 miles of the location. We WILL create a lot of new addicts and this is a fact. The vast majority of gambling dollars comes from the addicts. Embezzlement and crime WILL rise. Small businesses in the vicinity will close. We will not get, in my opinion, a net # of new jobs OR state revenue, in the long run. And big casino money is a terrible corrupting influence in politics. By any measure, casinos are not good policy.

    And that’s just the practical side, nevermind the morality.

  7. Greg Page Says:

    Like Lynne, I’m looking at this more as a pragmatist than a moralist. Kim’s points about Mohegan are true — it does have valid attractions like big-name concerts, WNBA, shows, etc. I’ll admit that the ‘destination resort’ argument has some steam behind it.

    But the fact of the matter is that you’re talking about a business whose ultimate purpose is to TAKE money away from people who (probably) need it, and GIVE it to people who are already wealthy. NOTHING OF VALUE is created in that process.

    Sure, you can pay a bunch of staffers minimum wage to help that money transfer process along, but how can that be a panacea for our budgetary woes?

  8. Best 4 Lowell Says:

    I’m quite indifferent about the whole gambling issue. I suppose it’s because I don’t care for it and don’t really understand how exactly it would impact the states economy. (It doesn’t help that I find casino’s and the majority of the places around them to be havens for people without morals). On a better note, no one has mentioned the wonderful part of yesterday! Gov. Patrick passed a bill that allows people to claim Autism treatments on insurance! A big victory for those who are aflicted with the disorder as well as their families.

  9. Right In Lowell Says:

    Lynne… I knew sooner or later we would agree on something!
    Even if gambling were good for our economy, Mass. waited way to long to jump on the bandwagon.

  10. Jack Mitchell Says:

    “A fool and his money are soon parted” - Thomas Tusser

    Now, I can understand the unrepentant capitalist that truly welcomes the industry associated to this cliche. It’s a bit slimy, but in America, we are out to make a buck. No?

    But those of us that aren’t feathering our nests with the money of fools, why are we complicit? What do we get? The overall societal benefit to gambling is what, exactly? What of the costs? Since I don’t gamble, the cost/benefit ratio will likely tilt COST, for me.

    If we are gonna do sin tax, let’s tax ALL the sins. Not just the ones that our Puritan upbringing can handle.

    Talk about Blue Laws. ;v)

  11. waittilnextyr Says:

    I agree with Greg. However, the resort casino may be able to walk a fine balance between taking money from MA consumers, yet returning a percentage of that money plus money otherwise spent in CT, plus money spent by visitors to MA, back to the State and its economy. And in the short term resort casinos provide some construcion jobs.

    Slots on the other hand have no advantage, and a lot of disadvantages.

  12. joe from Lowell Says:

    But the fact of the matter is that you’re talking about a business whose ultimate purpose is to TAKE money away from people who (probably) need it, and GIVE it to people who are already wealthy. NOTHING OF VALUE is created in that process.

    So do baseball games. So do movie tickets.

    You know what value those things produce? People enjoy them. They decide that the pleasure they get from that evening’s entertainment is worth the price.

    Who are you to say otherwise?

  13. Greg Page Says:

    Joe, totally fair question. I’ll admit that my statement was a subjective value judgement, but I still think that gambling is different in terms of scale, purpose, and effect from most other forms of entertainment. Everyone has biases, and because I know people who have had National Grid shut their power off in the dead of winter because they blew all their money at Foxwoods and couldn’t pay their bills, I’m probably not neutral on this subject.

    First I’d say there’s a question of scale — gambling holds out a promise that appeals to desperate people, and it can quickly lead to an addiction that drains bank accounts, maxes credit cards, leads to petty crime, etc. Someone can very easily lose thousands of dollars in under an hour at a blackjack or roulette table, and there aren’t many forms of entertainment that compare in that sense.

    Movie tickets have gotten more expensive lately, but a single ticket still more or less works out to one hour of minimum wage work. A Spinners game is even cheaper…and I admit if we’re talking about the “Major 4″ sports, those tickets are pricey…there are probably some people who devote a decent-size share of their Disposable Income to these sorts of things, but when was the last time someone pawned a wedding band to get Bruins tickets? People with moderate incomes who buy season tickets could probably steer their resources elsewhere — MAYBE for better effect — but even if someone could have *hockey addiction* at least the Bruins aren’t luring fans back by promising something life-changing (hitting a jackpot) that will never happen for most people who participate.

    I would say there’s entertainment value in a movie (well, most movies) or in a night out at a game in a way that time spent pulling a lever on a slot machine or watching a ball bounce around a roulette wheel doesn’t compete with. Still, I’ll admit that that is a subjective opinion. Some people really do enjoy a night in a casino, and there are many who can keep it under control — they budget a couple hundred bucks for their night at Foxwoods, they know they’ll stop once that money is gone, and they’ll enjoy the time.

    My experience is that friends and families bond over things like movies and sporting events that they hold in common…Sunday afternoon gatherings in the fall to watch NFL games, family movie nights, etc. These things tend to bring people closer together and create lasting memories. Like I said earlier, I’ll concede that some groups of friends or some families may get that experience from casino gambling, but my observations from being in and around casinos is that they are far more likely to leave peoples’ wallets a lot lighter than when they entered but without any of the upsides that movie fans and sports fans often look back on.

    Not trying to be the moral police or an elitist who tells other people how to live, but just voicing my opinion that people looking to formalized gambling as The Answer for Massachusetts (and if you think I’m kidding, Tim Cahill implied two days ago that the casino bill would have gotten us out of this recession) are mistaken. If we actually want to make long-term structural fixes to help ourselves fiscally, we’d have to change our tax structure and/or rein in public spending, either one of which is politically difficult because it means hard choices and angry voters.

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