At Suffolk Business School's "Build Boston" forum about casinos last Thursday morning, Stephen Crosby, chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, shared a brief, private chat with No Eastie Casino co-chair Celeste Ribeiro Myers. Crosby conveyed the commission's goal to facilitate a process wherein communities see as many benefits and as few consequences as possible from expanded gambling. Myers politely shared with Crosby her concerns that "communities are being worked by the process instead of the other way around." She also shared her frustration at community members' inability to get any real data or answers from Suffolk Downs or the City.
The Globe reports Vornado Realty Trust, which left a giant gaping sore in the heart of downtown, is pulling out of the Suffolk Downs casino proposal because state officials dared to ask it for detailed financial information on its executives, to make sure they aren't actually organized crime figures or illegal ivory importers or something.
If a casino comes to Boston, it will arrive with the full-throated support of Boston's mayor and East Boston's city counselor, representative, and senator. Our local leaders – including those who grew up here and know Eastie the best – risked everything they'd helped East Boston become and threw their support behind the statewide casino bill and the idea of expanded gambling at Suffolk Downs.
They didn't always support a casino here, though:
Ed. note: The ramifications of casino gambling are huge, both statewide and in communities such as East Boston and Revere. Starting today, Josh Resnek will explore and explain the coming gambling wave, with his unique insights as former vice president and editor of the Independent Newspaper Group, which cover, among other places, East Boston, Revere and Everett.
All the casino talk and machinations by those seeking licenses in the state's three regions A, B, and C to this point in time pale by comparison with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's paralytic behavior.
In a cold, harsh and relentless business climate where time is of the essence, where time is about money made and money lost, money given away to others moving faster than you are and gaining advantages perceived and realized, having the slows is dangerous business. Frankly, it is bad business.
Abraham Lincoln coined the phrase about having the slows during the Civil War when his General of the Union Army George McLellan was acting a bit like Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Steven Crosby.
The Boston Business Journal reports part of the Everett site Steve Wynn took a look at for a possible casino is actually in Boston - whose mayor has long and loudly backed a casino at Suffolk Downs. Wonder how long it would take the BRA to draw up casino-only zoning that would cover only one particular part of East Boston?
The Globe reports Steve Wynn, who couldn't convince Foxboro to let him and Robert Kraft build a casino there, is now looking at a parcel in Everett. Of course, given the way the state's casino law is written, he'd first have to have a Thunderdome-like death match with the people behind the Suffolk Downs proposal.
Music video against the proposed Suffolk Downs casino.
Via East Boston News.
Company that wants to build a casino in New Bedford gets another shot at convincing court to block Indian casinoBy adamg - 8/2/12 - 7:48 am
A federal appeals court yesterday reinstated a developer's lawsuit over a state law giving preference to Indian tribes for a casino in the southeastern part of the state.
Although the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected KG Urban Enterprises' request for a preliminary injunction against the state gambling law, it said the company had raised valid questions about the constitutionality of a law giving preference to Indian tribes in the region, and sent the case back to a lower court, which had dismissed the suit.
EastBoston.com is aggregating Suffolk Downs news.
Suffolk Downs has put up renderings and justifications for its proposed $1-billion resort hotel which, to the untrained eye, looks like something you'd expect to see at the airport, rather than as a destination.
Looks like the track and Mayor Menino will be fighting a proposal for Milford for the one eastern-Massachusetts gambling license. If successful, Suffolk Downs wants to install 4,000 to 5,000 slot machines, 200 table games and a poker room, along with "six fine dining concepts," food for those with less refined tastes (a buffet and food court) and 300 hotel rooms.
Promotional video - watch past the intro to be reassured that no, they're not planning to put it in Copley Square:
The Revere Journal reports on one man's campaign against the proposed Suffolk Downs casino, which would be mostly in East Boston, but enough in Revere that that city gets to vote on allowing it as well.
Mayor Menino today announced a Host Community Advisory Committee to consider the ramifications of a proposed resort casino at Suffolk Downs, chaired by Brian Leary, partner at McCarter and English (and, yes, former Channel 5 reporter).
Other members: Sarah Barnat, VP of development, National Development (and East Boston resident); Lisa Calise, CFO, Perkins School for the Blind (and former top financial aide to the mayor); and Ronald L. Walker II, president and founding partner of Next Street.
The Herald reports the City Council has formed a special committee on gambling. Part of its role will be to figure out if everybody in Boston should vote on allowing a casino at Suffolk Downs, but it may also attempt to leverage Vornado Realty Trust's 20% ownership of Suffolk Downs into getting it to do something about the Hole, of which it is the majority owner.
The Herald quotes would-be Foxboro casino owner Steve Wynn about a weekend protest by Foxboro and Walpole residents:
That protest was put on by our competitors.
The Herald reports on the looming battle royale between Tom Menino, who wants a casino at Suffolk Downs, and Robert Kraft, who wants a casino next to his football stadium/mall in Foxboro.
The Globe reports a developer upset the law gives preference for a casino in the southeastern part of the state barely waited for Deval Patrick's signature to dry before filing a federal lawsuit.
A state senator who owns a bar has added a provision to a proposed casino law that would let every bar in the state offer happy hours as a way to compete with casinos that would be allowed to offer free boozes to loosen up their customer's wallets.
Wicked Local reports the Senate passed Sen. Bob Hedlund's happy-hour amendment, which now goes to a House/Senate conference committee. The Senate rejected a proposed ban on free drinks at casinos. Happy hours have been banned in Massachusetts since the Dukakis era.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz wants to extend a referendum provision of the proposed state gambling bill from the area immediately around a casino to an entire municipality. The Dorchester Reporter explains why everybody in Boston should have a say in whether Suffolk Downs becomes a casino.
The Herald reports the mayor continues to back plans for a resort casino at Suffolk Downs, but that he'll have to fight off Milford, which is also expected to put in a bid for a gambling emporium.
Ed. question: The Herald actually says the racetrack's owners want to build a "resort-style casino." How is that different from a plain old "resort casino?"
The Globe reports.
Technically, the governor has ten days to sign the casino/slots bill passed by the legislature last night. But the odds against that are pretty high. House Speaker Robert DeLeo, whose district would likely get both a resort casino (Suffolk Downs) and a slots parlor (Wonderland) vowed to raise the stakes if Patrick "amends" the bill (sends it back to the legislature with proposed changes; effectively killing it).
Or even if he does sign it, he can do what he wants because of an apparent mistake with a single word in the section of the bill setting up a gambling commission, the Outraged Liberal informs us.
Meanwhile, Ross Levanto writes that all the dithering over casinos means Massachusetts lost out on a federal stimulus program to encourage small-business job creation.