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Monday, September 17, 2007

Governor Patrick Green Lights Casino’s

Picture courtesy of Mashpee Indian Tribe

In a move that was not a very large surprise to most people, the Governor gave the green light to casino style gambling here in Massachusetts. One of the bluest of blue states is now placing its bets on the future of gambling. The times in our state they are a changing and the need for yet another new industry is at hand. Just like the days of the computer industry manufacturing boom and bust, something has to fill the gap and the jobs that need to be filled.

Over at the Boston Herald they have this to say on today’s announcement by Governor Deval Patrick…

Patrick today proposed licensing three resort casinos in Massachusetts, in a move he said would generate between $400 and $450 million in annual tax revenue that he would spend on transportation upgrades and property tax relief.

Under the plan, the “tasteful and appropriate” casinos would be distributed one each in the western, southeastern and greater metropolitan Boston regions of the state, Patrick said. The licenses would be put up for bid in a competitive process open to Indian tribes and casino companies.

“Casino gambling is neither a cure all nor the end of civilization,” Patrick said. “On balance, however, and under certain conditions, I believe resort casinos can work well in, and for, the commonwealth.”

However, lawmakers must approve expanding legalized gambling beyond the state lottery and four racetracks, and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi said today he was not persuaded by Patrick’s plan.
- Boston Herald

The big question right now is going to be the discussions between Governor Patrick and House Speaker DiMasi. I’m not convinced by any means that Governor Patrick is pro gambling as much as he is about pro jobs. Contrary to popular belief, many areas of our state are in an economic downturn without any sense of relief in sight. New jobs and construction jobs are needed to rebuild communities and families once more. With the exodus of our latest and greatest industries moving if not south then across the border to Mexico, new jobs are desperately needed in Massachusetts.

I’m not sure if I am pro gambling myself but I do know that not all of our children will grow up and become MIT, WPI or Harvard schooled successes. Parents from all walks of life are struggling to survive and higher education is not always available to all children. Sad to say but reality is that some kids will drive the trash truck (A very honorable and appreciated profession) and others will run the company that makes sure that the trucks roll out of the yard every single day.

If I were to have an argument in favor of gambling in this state then I would have to go with the fact that the 20,000 jobs the casinos could provide would not be bottom of the latter minimum wage jobs but descent wages with benefits. I was reading in the same piece that one Indian tribe is willing to spend one billion dollars on a resort casino in Middleboro! Times that by three and you get three billion dollars in construction work.

If I were to have an argument against gambling in this state then I would have to go with the personal destruction and loss of family wages on lady luck at the gambling tables. Gambling is not dangerous to all but many become addicted just like one could become addicted to alcohol. When over done, one or both can destroy many lives.

Toss this issue up in the air for now till Deval and Sal sit down and hash this whole thing out. We could more or less say that this is the beginning of the serious talks of the process of gambling in Massachusetts.


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