Speaker Robert DeLeo appears to be coming closer to reaching an agreement with Governor Deval Patrick about what exact shape and form an expanded gambling bill will take.
All signals are pointing to a dramatic increase in interaction between the governor and the speaker – and in fact, a meeting apparently held by the two took place Tuesday afternoon in the governor’s office where they discussed the particulars.
The speaker seems to be getting much more motivated these days about a new expanded gambling bill.
In a way, he is coming home on the issue more so than ever before.
The speaker represents Revere. He represents Winthrop.
These two communities are at the vortex of his political life.
Both communities will benefit mightily if a casino comes to Suffolk Downs.
Both communities – and East Boston – would undergo an economic resurgence with the creation of hundreds of jobs, the investment of more than $100 million in capital, and which would be capped off with a new and powerful stream of tax revenue.
New businesses would be born and in the short term, a casino at Suffolk Downs would be a significant boost to the economy.
The long-term outlook is the same.
Casinos in New England have not failed.
Massachusetts will be the benefactor of thousands upon thousands of people who will forego their trips to Foxwoods and to Mohegan Sun because Suffolk Downs is closer.
There is no further need for study and debate at this point is as worthless as Suffolk Downs going out of business and the land empty.
The speaker is apparently of the mind that the House needs to get moving on a new bill.
However, the governor has repeatedly said that this time around it is either going to be his way or no way.
The speaker isn’t going capitulate to the governor.
Yet the speaker must give the governor what he wants or come very close or the governor will not bite on an expanded gambling bill.
The possibility of selling three casino licenses in Massachusetts is the possibility of raising $300 – $500 million in licensing fees just like that, with the snap of a finger.
Over at Suffolk Downs, Mr. Fields, the owner, is ready to go. He’d hire 1,000 men and women, trades people, vendors, et cetera overnight with a license in his hand and what’s better, he’d do the right thing at the track property.
For our area, for these struggling working class neighborhoods, a casino is not panacea. Gambling is not panacea.
However, an expanded gambling bill agreed upon by the governor and the speaker would be reason for celebration because it would inevitably mean new jobs and lots of money being invested and a future that will be far more promising than it will be without it.
Boston is a world-class city. A casino is just one more reason for the tens of millions of tourists coming here to enjoy themselves if they so desire.
Revere, Winthrop and East Boston residents are crying for jobs.
This will help, and the speaker knows that.
Good luck Mr. Speaker.