The news from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s (MGC) meeting last Thursday about Boston not being considered as a host community for the Revere casino project certainly comes as good news. This ruling just reaffirms what Mayor Dan Rizzo and his team have been saying to the residents of Revere since December when the City and Mohegan Sun officlals inked their host community agreement.
This is just one positive step in what seems to be a development that just keeps hitting roadblocks.
The next shoe to fall is Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s statement that he will go to court to contest the MGC’s ruling of last Thursday. Walsh’s litigation process could tie up the Suffolk Downs and Wynn Resort projects for months.
We can understand Walsh’s desire to fight these projects to the bitter end, seeing that voters in East Boston rejected the casino in the November election and an overwhelming number of residents in Charlestown are against a casino in Everett.
We hope that Walsh will ultimately see the light that his actions might be Quixotic and he should look at negotiating a mitigation agreement with Mohegan Sun. But today Walsh is not at this point.
The next step in this process is now in the hands of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court whether to have the casino question placed on this November’s ballot. Judging by some of the statements last week by the judges in their questioning of the attorneys for putting the referendum on the ballot, they seem to be upholding the ruling of Attorney General Martha Coakley who ruled that the question as written was unconstitutional. However, anti-casino activists were still gathering some of the 11,000 signatures in East Boston Monday night that they need in order to put this question on the ballot in November, if the SJC rules in their favor in June.
If the SJC rules in favor of allowing the casino question on the ballot, then how will the residents of Massachusetts vote? Today, according to pollsters, the vote could go either way.
The new twist in this saga is MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby recusing himself from voting on either the Mohegan Sun or the Wynn Resorts proposal. His absence could leave the commissioners unable to reach agreement on who gets the sole casino license as there would be only four commissioners voting with no way to break a tie.
So if one is looking for a quick and precise answer to the casino question, there is not one.
We urge residents and city officials to heed the old Chinese adage,”A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” This is how the casino license for the Eastern Massachusetts will be decided, one step at a time that could go either way.