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

Casino fight turns nasty

The Outraged Liberal, who gets up even earlier than Media Nation (can that 5:27 a.m. time stamp be correct?), says everything I was going to say about the state of the casino-gambling fight. I wouldn’t spin it quite the same way, though. Mr. Liberal takes House Speaker Sal DiMasi to task for his “increasingly strident and personal approach to the issue.”

Well, yes, today’s Globe coverage makes it quite clear that DiMasi is taking it personally. But just because he’s getting personal doesn’t mean he isn’t right. From Matt Viser’s story:

One representative who met with the speaker yesterday said DiMasi “made clear that he wants to win this thing.”

“It’s trying to convince you, ‘I’m right, the governor’s wrong, and we really want your vote,’ ” said the representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private. “I thought it was going to be on substance, talk about the pros and cons. But it’s been made pretty clear that it’s more than that.”

Now, this particular legislator apparently thinks DiMasi’s approach is light on substance. But it’s also clear that DiMasi is taking a principled position — “I’m right, the governor’s wrong.” And, in fact, DiMasi’s right and the governor’s wrong. Am I missing something here? Let’s not forget that the speaker is relying in part on data generated by state Rep. Dan Bosley, who’s been studying this issue for years.

Then, too, Gov. Deval Patrick himself appears to be getting personal as well. According to Globe columnist Joan Vennochi (don’t take the buyout, Joan!), DiMasi is getting his back up because he believes Patrick and his minions have been sliming him in the press. Not all that competently, either — DiMasi may be golfing with casino backers, but he’s also telling them “no,” while Patrick has rolled over for them.

Mr. Liberal has come around to the anti-casino position, but he still wants more data and for “cooler heads to prevail.” I’m not sure why. Patrick’s three-casino proposal is the most damaging idea any governor has come up with in a long time. What’s needed is to defeat it — soundly, and by a wide enough margin that he doesn’t try again.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Media Nation on the air


Godwin’s Law* in action


  1. tad

    Why? Because the minute you go ad hominem, you’ve lost all credibility. When your argument is based umbrage, not fact, people think “well, of course he’d say that” and immediately tune him out.

  2. Anonymous

    EB3 here,Dan, I particularly love Venocchi’s column quoting Deval at a meeting with Globe editors.In a smarmy way Deval implied that DiMasi may have less than honorable reasons in opposing casino gambling.There seems to be a pattern of ineptitude and inability within the governor’s to work with people not in total agreement. Honestly, can Deval get re-elected? I doubt it.BTW. In the Globe story today, is Deval’s office subtly complaining that DiMasi is speaking with legislators personally trying to persuade them to vote against casino gambling?Note to Deval: Hey Deval! You can do the same thing. Give it a try sometime. It;s called politics It’s how our forefathers got this country rolling. They talked to each other personally and used their powers of persuasion, along with political skills, to reach end results. However, you seem to go out of your way to piss people off. Then you complain when they do not abide by your wishes. Did you get anything out of your strong liberal arts education?Is there a little Spitzer in you?

  3. Anonymous

    I don’t understand the “getting personal” angle and I wish commentators like Vennochi would skip the drama stuff and keep the focus on facts.DiMasi has been pretty clear about his position all along, and it’s a position based on facts, not some stupid personal rivalry with the governor, who is getting his numbers from gambling industry lobbyists.

  4. Neil

    Since when is “I’m right and you’re wrong” a principled position? I’m not interested in what you have to say, or any inconvenient evidence to the contrary, my mind is made up already. Just because you think you’re right doesn’t exempt you from the obligation of justifying your supposed principles. Especially if you’re a politician. (See Iraq, invasion of, for a result of a “principled” position, unimpeded by any pesky facts.)I agree with anon 10:24. Vennochi refers to two stories done by Globe reporters, and says:Of course, the governor himself wouldn’t be feeding DiMasi tips to reporters.Instead of just passing along the innuendo, how about Vennochi walk down the hall and ask the reporters themselves who tipped them off. Or is she implying that her fellow Globe reporters are in the bag for Deval.

  5. APM

    Dan,Would you please provide a quick link or links of studies that support the fact that casinos will be of no value to Commonwealth? I cannot find any info and given that you are such an ardent anti-casino guy I would assume you have no trouble.As a caveat, please don’t cite anything by Bosley, he is as biased as the pro-casino side. I am so frustrated by all sides in this debate. I want to see real numbers. Not something prepared by someone for or against casinos!

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Here are the facts:Casinofacts.orgIf you think the studies it cites are biased, well, to paraphrase Stephen Colbert, the truth has an anti-casino bias.

  7. Anonymous

    DiMasi used to be Finneran’s enforcer. When he became Speaker, he sounded as if he had put much of that behavior behind him, but the tone and tenor of his words since Patrick won the governor’s office, have been ‘my way or the highway’ blunt. He may be right about the casino issue, but the way he is going about it, has lost my support. The enemy of my enemy, isn’t always my friend, particularly in this case.

  8. Anonymous

    EB3 here,Hey 3:52. DiMasi is maybe now taking this personally but his position has never changed. It is Deval who has consistently shown the “my way or highway” persona. Now, as the zero hour approaches, DiMasi is meeting with legislators one on one and arguing his position, using politics and emotion. BIG DEAL!Unfortunately for Deval there is the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.The governor’s public tantrums, unbecoming quips, and all around strategy in delivering casino gambling are beyond naïve and borders on the pathetic. That includes the glossy brochure he sent around last week.Like parents, the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights loves each child (branch of government) EQUALLY, and just because you are the oldest child(governor) you can’t boss your little brother (Speaker) around, unless your parents (Constitution) let you.Grow Up Deval!

  9. Neil

    I doubt the research page at will satisfy commenter apm. It consists mostly of a list of overheated assertions. (Dramatically increase the tax burden…) Several of the entries are non-sequiturs or are otherwise unsupported:* Causes Increases in CrimeThe footnote reference [14] points to footnote [13], which leads to a corrupt pdf file.* Deepen Our State’s Budget ProblemsNot one state in the country has ever solved its budget problems with gambling revenues.This is a straw man and a non-sequitur. Just because gambling revenues haven’t solved budget problems doesn’t mean that they deepen the problems.* Dramatically Increase the Tax Burden on Non-GamblersConnecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have casino gambling and all have higher taxes than Massachusetts.This is a non-sequitur. Without casinos their taxes might have been higher still. More Reference Material contains dead links:[6] Kent County Times, page cannot be found.[8] Candace Evert testimony…, does not exist or is not available.[10] State Rep…., page cannot be found.All of the 15 or so c2006xxx links in the Supplemental Reference Material are dead. They point to an apparently defunct server called CELCEE.The Taylor, Krepps, Wang study from the JFK School of Govt cited in the reference material may be the closest thing to an unbiased study. It’s worth a look. Here is from the Abstract:No evidence of harmful economic or social impacts due to Indian casino introduction is discernible in our 30 indicators of economic and social health.At least it’s an attempt to look at the available data before coming to a conclusion, which I think is what apm is looking for. Rather than the more abundant examples of coming to a conclusion first then seeking data to support it. What happened elsewhere doesn’t necessarily apply here and as far as I can see the available data doesn’t justify righteous certainty in either direction. I personally tilt against casinos but could be persuaded otherwise, and meanwhile am disappointed by the heat vs light emanating from both sides of this debate.

  10. Outraged Liberal

    Sadly that time stamp is true 🙂 The call for cooler heads is really simple. Massachusetts will still have budget problems — too many programs, not enough revenue — after the casino plan dies.The real risk is the atmosphere will become so poisoned that nothing will get accomplished.The fiscal mess in the late ’80s, often laid solely on the back of Mike Dukakis, was also in large part due to the fact that George Keverian and Billy Bulger couldn’t stand each other. They had a hard timing putting aside questions of style to work in everyone’s best interest.I don’t think any of us want to see that again.I think EB3 had it half right when he said Grow Up Deval. The same advice applies to Sal. It’s not about you — it’s about us.

  11. Anonymous

    Sal’s CFRs are littered with contributions from Conn casino interests and the law firm advisor of the New York Racing Association, who are about to install slot machines at their major racetracks.

  12. Anonymous

    Neil, if casinos were the right way to go, we would have had them here already. If what your saying is, we should try them, what do have to lose, your just as nuts as you sound. Why do you think there’s so many millions set aside for “miitgation” in the plan. That word is not very people friendly. Plus, the impacts exist. Are there unknowns, of course. I’m not willing to bet the future of this state on the gambling industries numbers. That’s why I stand for CASINOFACTS.ORG. Nothing to gain, except no casino, everthing to lose,including but not limited to, control of this states destiny.

  13. Anonymous

    DiMasi’s behavior recalls Jesse Unruh, former Speaker of the California Assembly, who said famously of lobbyists: “If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, fuck their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong here.”Bob in Peabody

  14. Anonymous

    EB3 here.Right you are Bob.Did anyone notice that Twin Rivers in R.I. is behind on loan payments?Doesn’t that say alot?

  15. Neil

    Anon. 12:25: “…if casinos were the right way to go, we would have had them here already.”So, nothing new can ever be of value, because if it did, it would already exist. This logic would preclude the creation of anything of value in the first place, going back to the invention of the wheel. You can’t infer my level of nuttiness from how I sound when I say “we should try them, what do we have to lose”, since I didn’t say that.I’m not taking a stand about casinos here. I’m just sayin’, if somebody asks where to find non-agenda-driven data, isn’t the place to look, since it’s obviously a partisan site. It should be named “”. Fair enough to take a stand–we are against casinos, and here is evidence to support our stance. But it’s presumptuous to claim ownership of the “facts”.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén