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

The opposite of independent

If there’s one thing I think we could all agree on, it’s that the recently released Spectrum Gaming Group report on Gov. Deval Patrick’s moribund casino-gambling proposal is not independent. So why does a Boston Globe editorial today refer to Spectrum as “an independent research firm”?

Spectum’s close ties to the gambling industry were the subject of a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. And there’s more. For instance, check out the credentials of some of its top executives:

  • Harvey Perkins, senior vice president, “has thirty years of casino gaming industry experience and has held high-level positions at major gaming properties in Atlantic City and New Orleans.”
  • Tina Ercole LoBiondo, vice president for analysis, “has worked in the casino resort industry since 1988, having held various analytical, operational and developmental roles in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and was instrumental in the opening of three major gaming resorts.”
  • Bill LaPenta, director of financial analysis, “is a casino and hotel industry professional with more than 20 years of operations management and analysis experience, providing critical business decision support, planning, analysis, and performance management tools to casino hotel and resort operators.”

Not everyone who holds a top position at Spectrum has a gambling background. And the two managing directors, Fredric Gushin and Michael Pollack, come from the worlds of law enforcement and government regulation, respectively.

But Spectrum officials clearly see themselves as part of the gambling industry. They may be nice people. They may sincerely believe there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, and they may be dedicated to the right way.

In reality, though, the right way is not to do it at all, and that simply isn’t part of the Spectrum mindset. The fact is that Patrick hired the casino-gambling industry to report on whether casino gambling would be a good thing. The opposite of independent, in other words.

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1 Comment

  1. Gladys Kravitz

    And let’s not forget that Spectrum, on the front page of it’s web site, lists it’s clients, one of which is Kerzner International, whose chairman is Sol Kerzner, who just happens to be one of the investors behind the Mashpee Wampanoags bid to build a casino in Middleboro. Which could explain why Spectrum’s report differed from the advice UMass Dartmouth Prof. Clyde Barrows offered Gov. Patrick last year by claiming one of any three Massachusetss casinos should be an Indian casino. But then again, maybe it’s just a strange, completely independent coinkydink.

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