By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Just say no to the casino

One of the very first things you see when you visit — a Web site started by supporters of the proposed Middleborough casino — is an insinuation that casino opponents are in league with the Ku Klux Klan. The site touts an “editorial” calling on an anti-casino group,, “to repudiate bigotry, prejudce and hate and any connection with a national group called by a major Indian magazine ‘The Ku Klux Klan of Indian country.'”

Guilt by association, a demand to repudiate something that has nothing to do with the honest efforts of folks who don’t want to see their town destroyed — oh, yes. It’s obvious that the pro-casino forces will stop at nothing. Money doesn’t talk, it screams.

I grew up in Middleborough. I moved away many years ago, and thus cannot claim to be a stakeholder in this debate. But there’s really no question about what the impact will be if this monstrosity ever gets built:

  • The rural character of the town will be destroyed forever.
  • The highways and roads will be choked with traffic.
  • Crime and police activity will increase significantly, as the Globe reported on Sunday.

I hope the casino gets voted down at the special outdoor town meeting that’s been called for this weekend. But if it passes, I hope Gov. Deval Patrick slams on the brakes. A casino would severely harm the quality of life in Middleborough for generations to come. A chaotic public gathering, held just a few days after the agreement between town officials and the Wampanoags was made public, is no way to resolve this. I also question whether even a majority should have the right to do this to fellow townspeople.

The best way to resolve this is to kill it now.

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  1. endangered coffee

    Hi Dan,I recently moved back to Middleboro after 10 years on the North Shore and wholeheartedly agree with your casino assessment. But, I don’t see the town voting this down, and if they do, I’m not exactly sure what difference it makes once the Wampanoags get soveriegn control of their land. I even sent a letter to the editor to the local paper when I was living in Beverly, earnign the wrath of my mother and grandfather who support the casino. Oh well, maybe I’ll run into you when you come back to town to visit.

  2. The Scoop

    Dan, have you ever been to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun? The roads, while busy with cars, are not “choked with traffic” as you claim they will be. And both are still pretty rural, off of tree-lined roads and surrounded by woods. There’s no reason to think anything different will happen in Middleborough.

  3. Anonymous

    Towns have a right to decide what kind of business they want. If the voters or their representatives ok a casino so be it! I dont like casinos and I dont like drug treatment cetner, early-release halfway houses, low income housing, convicted sex offenders, etc etc. I dont like it when rich people speed thru my town to catch the red line, then these same speeders balk at the Greenbush line, because it will upset the “character” of their town! What we need to do is open a casino in every town, once Mass is saturated with these meccas of fashing lights, it will become less of an attraction for the average casino patron and it will be left for the degenerate gambler!

  4. Rick in Duxbury

    Dan,If nothing else, this will be an interesting experiment in whether checks and balances are lost in a one-party state. Physically, S.E. MA is the prettiest part of the state, IMHO.(I moved from your part of the world). The politics of “The Bayou”, however, have become increasingly problematic for quality of life. Plymouth and Bristol Counties long ago lost the small-government feel of old. Recent pension boondoggles have only served to reinforce that. There is a sense of inevitability about all this.

  5. Anonymous

    Doesn’t Boston Mayor Menino want to put a casino in Suffolk Downs, which is already built and is in an area that already has traffic problems (Therefore the extra traffic on the weekends wouldn’t change things that much.)?? If people want a casino in Mass., that seems like a better option.

  6. Paul P.

    Dan: This week the Cape Cod Times and The Standard-Times of New Bedford published this series:

  7. O-FISH-L

    At 8:59 AM Dan said: “I also question whether even a majority should have the right to do this to fellow townspeople.”Yikes. First it was the majority shouldn’t be allowed to decide on homosexual “marriage” because that might take away “rights”, now the majority shouldn’t even be allowed to decide on how their town is developed. Is this Middleborough or Moscow?I’ll second the comments of the scoop 9:46 AM. I visit Foxwoods twice a month, usually during peak times, yet have never once encountered a traffic jam. Even with on-going road construction outside the casino, traffic flows smoothly. As for the “rural character of the town will be destroyed forever.” Please. Ledyard makes Mayberry look like Gotham. During the growing season there are numerous roadside farmstands located within a mile or two of the casino, while a friend of mine claims to be able to predict his luck on whether the dairy cows outside of the casino are standing or sitting when he drives by. That’s right, real live dairy cows all over the place.As a retired police Detective, with a M.CJ, the uptick in crime (moslty traffic violations) reported by the Globe was far less than I was led to believe. More importantly, the much ballyhooed fears of rampant prostitution and vice crimes haven’t materialized. To quote the Globe story: “But the big reason for the increase in police calls, according to both departments, is not casino- related vices, but the sheer volume of people passing through these towns every day, creating more opportunities for problems just by being there.” There may be some valid reasons to advocate against a casino in Middleborough, but streets choked with traffic, loss of rural character and increased casino related crime aren’t among them.

  8. Possum Stu

    Hey, it’s not fair, I want a vote, too! Years ago, folks in Middleborough (and everywhere else in the state) got to vote on whether rent control should be allowed in Boston.Citizens of Boston should have a chance to vote on whether Middleborough should get to “retain its rural character.” I just want to return the favor!

  9. Man who knows casinos suck donkey balls

    Scoop, I grew up in southeastern Connecticut, and was in junior high when Foxwoods opened, and in high school when Mohegan Sun came around.If you think the roads aren’t choked with traffic, then by unadulterated miracle, Jesus personally came down to clear the roads for you. It’s hideous compared to what it used to be. Sure, it’s no southeast expressway, but Metro Boston has three million people in it; SE CT is barely half a million (and I suspect that’s being generous).FWIW, I feel it is exceedingly unfair that Middleborough alone gets to vote on something that will affect the entire South Coast/South Shore region. This is yet another reason why the “351 cities and towns” of Massachusetts so desperately needs to consolidated; it’s just too damn easy to play towns off each other.Anyways, Dan…you overlook the real problem with casino gambling: the massive corruption in elected officials it guarantees. Just look at the Connecticut state legislature; they are bought and paid for…lock, stock and barrel…by the casinos. Any official who crosses them finds themselves out of a campaign funds in short order.This truly will affect the entire state; not just Middleborough. God I hope this gets defeated.Failing that, I suggest an idea: if the casino DOES get built, put massive tolls on each and every road leading to it. $10 per axle. If we’re going to have to pick up all the social tabs of casino gambling, we might as well make sure we have the money to pay for it. And it’s not like MassHighway doesn’t need the funds… 🙂

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