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

Casino study fails laugh test

When you hire a consulting firm that makes its living from casino gambling, then you can be pretty sure it will tell you casinos are a good thing. That’s the message of the Spectrum Gaming Group’s report to Gov. Deval Patrick, which has been touted as giving a boost (Boston Herald) to Patrick’s casino dreams, even if the three he has proposed wouldn’t bring in quite as much money (Boston Globe) as the governor had claimed.

The real eye-opener, though, is a Cape Cod Times story by David Kibbe, who reports that Spectrum says the state should act in large measure because the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe has the right, under federal law, to open a gambling casino in Southeastern Massachusetts. The Mashpee, as we know, propose building the world’s largest casino in Middleborough.

The inevitability theme has been used repeatedly, and, indeed, was a big reason that the Middleborough town meeting last year voted to approve a deal the selectmen had negotiated with the tribe, then voted against an advisory question asking whether folks wanted a casino in the first place.

In fact, though, there is a whole host of reasons why a Middleborough casino is not inevitable. Here is the great Gladys Kravitz’s list of the top 10 reasons why a casino will not be built. To my mind, the most compelling reasons are that the Middleborough casino would be farther from the Mashpee’s tribal lands than the feds generally allow, and that there are enough questions about the process used to ram the deal through at town meeting that opponents could keep this tied up in the courts for years.

Finally, consider that the governor’s office paid $189,000 to Spectrum knowing ahead of time that the outcome would be pro-casino. Take a look at Spectrum’s Web site and see how it makes its money. “Services for Casino Operators, Developers and Owners.” “Services for Suppliers to the Gaming Industry.” “Professional Services for Indian Nations.” (Would that include telling Gov. Patrick that a tribal casino is inevitable?)

This doesn’t pass the laugh test.

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  1. Ari Herzog

    Heh. You talk about laughter and Ryan Adams talks of BS.Maybe you’re both right.

  2. Mr Punch

    Whether or not there will be an Indian casino in Middleborough is not the same question as whether or not there will be an Indian casino somewhere. My impression is that if there is going to be a casino, there’ll be a lot of pressure to keep it off the Cape.

  3. Gladys Kravitz

    Mr. Punch, casinos are not inevitable in Massachusetts, nor in Middleboro, as my top ten list shows.And, of course, there will be pressure to keep it off the Cape – already has been. The Town of Mashpee negotiated with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to make darn sure there was no casino there. Middleboro failed to get the memo that maybe Mashpee had some good reasons.On top of that, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce opposes a Middleboro casino, and I would imagine, a Cape casino, because they know what it will do to existing businesses, traffic, and labor force in their neck of the woods.And Dan, that $189,000 could have opened the library in my town. Instead, the Governor would prefer me to plead for the “mitigation” crumbs that will trickle down to us as a surrounding community – after a casino has created addiction and crime, stressed town services, and lowered the quality of life for me and the rest of the 1/4 million folks in communittees surrounding Middleboro.

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