Court upholds impending ballot question on letting one guy build a slots parlor near Suffolk Downs

The Supreme Judicial Court today backed letting voters decide whether a man who has an agreement to buy a mobile-home park near Suffolk Downs should be allowed to apply for a slots-parlor license for the parcel.

The ruling by the state's highest court means voters this fall will vote on whether the state gaming commission should add a potential slot license that would only apply to a site that is "at least 4 acres large, and shall be adjacent to, and within 1500 feet of, a race track, including the track, grounds, paddocks, barns, auditorium, amphitheatre and/or bleachers, if any, where a horse racing meeting may physically be held, which race track shall have hosted a horse racing meeting, provided that said location is not separated from said race track by a highway or railway."

Ten Suffolk County taxpayers sued to block the Attorney General's approval of the measure, saying it was "substantially the same" to a 2014 referendum to bar casino gambling, which state law forbids, and is so specific to just one site that it's a "local" matter barred from statewide ballot questions.

Wrong on both counts, the SJC said.

The 2014 referendum applied to all gambling halls and would have made such gambling illegal, while Eugene McCain's proposal would be just an "incremental change in the licensing scheme for slots parlors," so hardly the same at all.

And while it's true the proposed slots parlor definition might only apply to just one location, the proposed slots parlor's workers and customers could come from anywhere in the state.

Besides, the court continued, the plaintiffs failed to show that, in fact, the oddly specific proposal really only applied to just one location in the entire state, and that, in any case, nothing is stopping anybody from applying for state permission to build a new racetrack and then apply for permission to build a slots parlor next to it, as long as it's not separated by a highway or railway and on at least four acres. The court allowed as how that might be a stretch in the real world, but continued that legally, hey, it could happen.

The justices added:

It may well be true that this petition was motivated by one person's desire to profit from the Commonwealth's developing gaming industry, based on his ownership interest in a particular property; the interests that propel both proponents and opponents of initiative petitions may often involve self interest rather than the public interest. But our focus in deciding whether an initiative petition reaches the voters must be on the actual law proposed by the petition, not on the motives that may lie behind it; the voters may consider those motives in deciding how they vote on the petition.

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Comments

So the 3 casinos, 1 slot

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So the 3 casinos, 1 slot parlor was just a starting point? Pretty soon everyone in MA will be no more than 20 minutes from a gambling hall and the casinos will be forever arguing to lower the payments they make to the state, like Twin River did, or even get a subsidy, like Suffolk Downs gets now. I nominate the Seaport to get a casino, next to the convention center. There's already bland overpriced chains, tacky architecture and plenty of parking. Its Reno on the Water.

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Hey

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If it gets everyone into a casino, out of the Tedeschi's, and makes me not have to wait eight minutes for Diamond Joe Scratchticket to purchase the exact right combination of lottery tickets, I actually don't mind that idea at all.

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Thank you being the voice of

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Thank you being the voice of thousands. So true. Hope the cold water didn't distill to lukewarm while you waited.

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casino

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So I went to my first casino last month, which happened to be in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. I had no urge to go to any here, so I figured "when in Rome..." Anyhow, it was decent fun playing a bit of Hold 'Em, and I walked out up about $75 (and about $50 playing roulette the next night); not that bad a turn, with some good people-watching thrown in. Anyhow, we went over to the slots area, and man is that some boring, depressing shit.

Which leads to my question: What is the draw with video slots?

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Old folks losing money

I was at a casino last week and saw a tour bus pull up. The driver opened the luggage compartment and it was filled with about a dozen walkers. Pretty sad.

Inside it's row after row of elderly and down-on-their-luck middle aged people mindlessly pressing the button. No one under 45. No one in particularly good shape. No smiles. I might as well been at the RMV.

I don't know what they get out of it but it hardly seems to be making them happy.

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It their money

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And the Gov. plans on taxing the hell out of it when they die, so why not?

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lol

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That's hilarious that you think the people playing slots are those who have more than the estate tax exemption.

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2 Answers for this

1. For some people, boredom and low cost

Which leads to my question: What is the draw with video slots?

I grew up (and my family still lives) near Turning Stone in CNY, and my mom loves to go up there and press the buttons. Quite frankly, there isn't much else to do in that area, especially when you're older, and with the way those games pay out small winnings, it's easy to kill an hour or 2 spending a minimal amount out of pocket (think winning $5 on a $5 scratch off and then just using that $5 to buy another and winning $2, and so on). For most, it's something entertaining to do at a relatively low cost. They actually opened an entire video slot parlor at nearby Vernon Downs that also does very well.

You'd think that it wouldn't be as much of a draw in a larger city with more to do. But then again, Boston is the city that always sleeps, sooo ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

2. Take a walk in the city and let me know if you make it more than 5 mins without seeing a used scratch off on the ground. Same concept, just with more lights and noise.

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While were at it...

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Why not allow William Hill PLC and Ladbrokes PLC to come over from the UK and set up betting shops here? Can bet on sports to politics over there in the UK.

They also have gambling machines in their locations.

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A slots parlor on the Blue

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A slots parlor on the Blue Line. Will they allow Uber when the T closes for the night?

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