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

The governor’s loaded dice

I like to stay away from debates over what kinds of benefits may or may not flow from Gov. Deval Patrick’s three-casino proposal. My reasoning is simple: casinos are bad news for a whole host of reasons, including traffic, crime and predicted increases in the divorce and suicide rates. If it turns out that Patrick’s rosy promises of tax revenues and jobs turn out to be true, well, I’m still against it.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that there’s considerable evidence that the numbers really don’t add up. The latest example is Steve Bailey’s column in today’s Globe, in which Bailey notes that the governor has promised four or times as many construction jobs as were created by the Big Dig, which was only the largest public-works project in the history of the known universe.

A more in-depth analysis of the numbers is provided in CommonWealth Magazine by Phil Primack. His story is proof, really, that there are no good numbers — and that as others, most prominently the Weekly Dig, have reported, Patrick has mainly adopted the assumptions of Clyde Barrow, a UMass Dartmouth researcher who is staunchly pro-casino. Primack’s story is must reading for anyone looking for a comprehensive overview of the numbers.

If the Legislature is unwilling to kill Patrick’s proposal outright, then at the very least it ought to commission an independent study. Legislators in the middle might be surprised at how little we’re going to get out of this, especially compared with how much we’re going to be hurt.

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  1. Bellicose Bumpkin

    If the Legislature is unwilling to kill Patrick’s proposal outright, then at the very least it ought to commission an independent study.I think the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is doing a study of some sort. Last I heard it was due in March.

  2. Anonymous

    Dan, It’s scary how the unions think so “in the box”. Especially the teachers, do you think they weighed the pro’s and con’s? Or did they just come out for the barrel of money that everyone else thinks they see. I’m a supporter of having NO CASINO’S IN MASS because the “bang for the buck” is short term, and the negative effects are all term. People often say Connecticut is running away with all the cash.The fact of the matter is, many in the region surrounding the two ever expanding “mega” casinos would take it all back if they could. We need to understand something about this talk about millions and billions. Very little is left in the pot after all is said and done. The State of Massachusetts will have budget problems with or without casino’s, so why make the rich,richer and at the same time put more financial strain on the middle class average joe who will be paying more towards negative impacts. We have all heard the ever popular “the state will pay for mitigation through increased local aid”. Without casino’s this cash could go to more positive things instead of paying for something we didn’t need in the first place. I’d like to counter the belief that Ma. residents spend milloins at Foxwoods and Mohegan sun, with the question, where do you think the investors that are not from this area and some not even this country, spend their profits? The Cape? Boston? No, they go home and stick it in the bank with the rest of their billions.

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