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

New Bedford’s loss, Middleborough’s gain

My first choice is no casinos anywhere in Massachusetts. My second choice is no casino in Middleborough. It’s my hometown, the process has been an utter disgrace, federal and state investigations are under way, and I don’t want to see the rural character of the town destroyed.

So even though I believe the proposed Middleborough casino is good and dead anyway, I’m pleased to see that both the Cape Cod Times and the New Bedford Standard-Times (sister papers) report that Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan for three state-approved casinos could further harm the Middleborough bid.

Stephanie Vosk reports in the Cape Cod Times that the troubled Mashpee Wampanoag tribe could find its Middleborough property wedged between casinos in New Bedford and Boston, which would make its own plans dubious at best. In the Standard-Times, Curt Brown and Steve Decosta write that New Bedford officials are ready to rock with a waterfront site, and that there are indications Patrick wants one of the three casinos in that city.

The Boston Herald and the Boston Globe round up Beacon Hill reaction. In an editorial, the Globe opines: “Massachusetts lawmakers who have opposed casino gambling in the past, including House Speaker Sal DiMasi, must come to terms with Patrick’s proposal or provide revenue ideas of their own.”

Well, actually, no they don’t. Doing the right thing does not require you to deal with the cost of sticking to your principles. The state’s revenue needs are a different subject that can be dealt with at another time.

But I’m certainly pleased that state officials, at least, seem to be leaning toward New Bedford rather than Middleborough. If the Mashpee tribe pushes for federal approval to operate a casino outside of state regulations, it’s likely to find itself competing with venues that are already up and running. That’s good news for my hometown.

My standard disclosure.


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14 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    EB3 here,Globe and Herld stand to gain big with casini gambling.The new casinos will be huge Huge HUGE advertisers. Pure and simple. Self-preservation. Folenes and Jordans gone the Casinos and all there restaurants and shows will be alll over sports pages, entertainments section, old people sections, etc.Newspapers have much to gain and therefore as credible on this as Charley Sarkis. (nothing against him)

  2. Anonymous

    What’s the matter, Dan? Afraid to point out that your pal Peter Kenney was flat-out wrong about casinos and what the governor was going to propose? Just who were those “sources” and are they the same ones who have been wrong 75 percent of the time?Guess this time the crap he was throwing out didn’t stick, huh? So many holes, so little time.But, as you’ll probably point out, in baseball he’d be an all-star. Guess that’s all it takes in the “new media” world of journalism.

  3. Anonymous

    Dan,FWIW, I drove to Middleboro Center from the Rotary via Rt. 28 the other day. A lot has happened since you moved. Sect. 8 apartments in former gravel pits, number of small children was amazing. While I’m sure you see the kids as worthy of protection from the sketchy gambling interests, town fathers also see huge tax requirements to educate them. Due to its huge area, there ARE still rural parts of town. Calling the whole town “rural” however doesn’t tell the whole story.495 in general, (and south of the Pike in particular) has seen big growth over the last 20 years. If the legislature won’t help with the infrastructure and education funding for those kids, the money has to come from somewhere. I’m not a gambling fan either but I think it’s unfair to condemn Middleboro locals who are at the end of their financial rope. You got out, they can’t.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 9:57: I don’t think making predictions is very smart, and that goes as much for Peter Kenney as anyone else. Predictions usually turn out to be wrong. Don’t know what “new media” has to do with it. Kenney’s been around a long time, as you probably know, doing talk radio and local access long before he started writing for Cape Cod Today.

  5. Anonymous

    Exactly, talk radio, local access cable and blogs. All are about the same in the credibility (or lack of it) food chain.

  6. man who's not a casino fan

    Hey Dan, I dunno if this was your intention, but a lot of your post comes off as very NIMBY-ish. Feels like you’re saying “Thank God the casino won’t be in Middleborough…stick it to those poor schlubs in New Bedford instead!”Methinks all the communities along Routes 3 and 24 might have something to say about a New Bedford casino, considering they’d have to deal with Cape traffic AND casino traffic. Believe me, residents in North Stonington, Ledyard and Groton have had over a decade to realize just how bad the traffic gets from a casino (trust me, it’s bad).

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Man Who: I think I was pretty clear. My first preference is no casino anywhere in Massachusetts. We don’t need one, and I don’t want it in your back yard, either.However, yes, my second choice is no casino in Middleborough. If the government is going to ram this down our throats, I’d rather it be in New Bedford than Middleborough. Again, my first choice is that it be nowhere.

  8. Anonymous

    I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. I can’t believe what a spineless, unprincipled wimp Deval Patrick turned out to be. Remember “Together, we can”? Well, evidently we couldn’t.

  9. Bill Toscano

    Dan: I love ya!But I hope for the sake of Massachusetts, you fight the good fight no matter where they want to put one.Someone has to tell New Bedford officials they are slicing their city’s throat.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Dear New Bedford officials: You are slicing your city’s throat.

  11. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    What’s the over/under on the first scandal involving the State Gaming Commission? Will hookers be involved? Superbowl tickets? Envelopes filled with cash? Will the feds or the attorney general score the first indictments? What kind of unique Mass twist will be involved?Morning line: First scandal breaks April of ’11; hookers and envelopes filled with cash involved but used at an out of state convention; minor ethics-commission wrist slaps over sports tickets and the first indictment will come from an ambitious and/or politically spurned local DA and the Mass twist will involve casino employees and gamblers conspiring for an “incredible run of luck” at a table for one of the boys. For that matter, who seems poised to win the inevitable war for control over what entity and what political personality will supervise gambling? Who will have control — the governor, the treasurer or one of our legislative leaders? The human toll of legalized gambling is bad enough, but in a state where we can’t build a public parking garage without scandal, this will provide decades of fodder for the Spotlight Team.

  12. Anonymous

    The glaring hole in this swiss cheese proposal are the Indian casinos. If we allow three commercial casinos, how is Patrick going to prevent Indian casinos from coming on line. There are two recognised tribes already(Mashpee and Aquinnah) and I think four in the pipeline. The IGRA allows tribes to do any sort of gaming that is legal in the state.

  13. Anonymous

    Amusedbutinformed – “The human toll of legalized gambling is bad enough, but in a state where we can’t build a public parking garage without scandal, this will provide decades of fodder for the Spotlight Team.”Right on!

  14. Peter Porcupine

    Amused – after listening to DEval this AM with Finneran, I am more convinced than ever that GamblePort is just months away.AND – they can have a hooker/liquor dispensation written right into the charter!The STATE is going to put three resorts out to bid? Tell me, Deval – who has the best linen contract in Mass.? Ohhhh – sorry! WRONG answer! Yes they ARE cheapest, but they’re not UNION!

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