Everyone is betting

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.

McClellan never made a fast move and so General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army roaming about freely only several miles from Washington on the other side of the Potomac River, got great advantage and made good use of it even though Lee's numbers were far smaller and his resources far less than the Union Army's. The war took an added three years to complete.

Governor Deval Patrick appears content with Crosby or at the very least content to let Crosby succeed or fail of his own volition without further involving himself. Lincoln was far more engaged and insistent that something be done and fast. He removed McLellan in favor of US Grant.

The rest is history.

Crosby and his board are taking their time getting going. Crosby takes pride in not paying attention to the clock, to enterprise, to the movement, creation and expenditure of private capital, the creation of jobs, the levying of new taxes and on and on.

At the same time he resists moving up timetables, casino operators in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine and maybe in New Hampshire are preparing to take advantage of the Gaming Commission's slows. And in upstate New York, there will shortly be three competing casinos in the Catskills and in the vast area of New York outside of New York City.

Perhaps the only ray of light and hope for businesspeople trying to act like businesspeople is that Crosby is but one vote out of five and doesn't control his colleagues the commissioners. This will make ultimate votes and outcomes as unpredictable as the weather.

The fight or the contest to secure a casino license in the Region A District concerns Bostonians. This is about the effort being waged by Suffolk Downs and Caesars Palace in the Revere/East Boston nexus, Steven Nunes and the Foxwoods Casino folks in Milford and Steve Wynn in Everett.

What do we know right now and where are these three in the process as it stands today?

All three have put up the $400,000 application down payment.

Suffolk Downs is way ahead in planning. It is ahead in preparing its mitigation package with host city Revere and is expected to approve whatever it is that Mayor Thomas Menino asks for when he gets down to that moment for East Boston and the city as a whole. Revere is expected to get about $10 million a year. Boston will likely ask for twice that amount and get it. Why? The mayor's support is unequivocal. Anyone believing the Boston Herald's assertions that Menino is thinking about hedging his bet with Wynn in Everett has no understanding of the man and or what loyalty is all about. Menino is about as likely to deal with Wynn as he is to support Southie Congressman Steve Lynch in his bid for the senate. It will never happen.

Suffolk Downs is six years into planning, has already submitted architectural renderings and engineering reports, has estimated how much it will invest on its 150 acre site, how many new jobs will be created, how traffic will be mitigated and on and on. A referendum taken tomorrow in Eastie and Revere would likely pass by substantial margins. Also, Suffolk Downs has been a gambling mecca for 75 years.

Whether they like it or not Nunes and Wynn are Johnny come latelies to this unfolding drama.

Wynn's entrance into the bidding war is most problematic for Suffolk Downs. It doesn't matter that he's chosen a contaminated piece of land near to Boston in Everett to build on.

Nor is Wynn posturing putting up the $400,000 and hoping and waiting for the process to drag out and for the mayor to die so he can place his casino somewhere else in Boston at the behest of a new mayor who would look upon him more favorably. Wynn is playing for keeps.

He is very rich and builds dreamlike casino facilities that are unrivaled. His entrance several months back immediately caused Suffolk Downs to ramp up its projected build out.

In addition, Wynn's presence only two miles from Suffolk Downs front door is a direct attack on their otherwise leading position in this licensing process.

Wynn is in constant talks with Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria. He can depend on the city government there to back the effort completely. Everett is not Foxboro. A referendum there would pass by a wide margin.

To this point in time Wynn has shown no plans, and has made no commitments as to mitigation. Traffic in Everett and access is a major problem in Everett more so than in Revere/East Boston.

Wynn is a good bet to even up the bidding for a license before the commission makes up its mind.

Nunes and Foxwoods in Milford on a wooded piece of land is the wildcard. Many astute observers of the casino world already formed and now forming say that Milford could be an ideal out for the commission and would allow it to forgo an urban casino for a suburban casino in the boonies 30 miles outside of the city.
The effort right now in New York is to keep traffic out of the city and to move it into the more spacious regions of the state. This is why New York is not allowing a casino in New York City.

There is a great deal of rising belief that the commissioners here might tend to be thinking this way for Region A.

In addition, Milford is not an assured bet to pass a casino referendum.

Last, Foxwoods has hooked up with Nunes because Nunes does not have the money it takes to command receiving a casino license. Foxwoods needs to stretch out the application process in order to maintain the $10 million or so each month it is stealing from Massachusetts in revenues.

If the process takes another year, paying $400,000 for an added $120 million in revenues before a license is granted here is good business.

Foxwoods is taking advantage of the Gaming Commission's slows.

Joshua Resnek has been published in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine and in newspapers and publications all over the world. He received an Emmy Award for investigative reporting in 1996. He is the former vice-president and editor of the Independent Newspaper Group, owners of the Revere Journal, the East Boston Times Free Press, the Everett Independent, North End Regional Review, Beacon Hill Times, Back Bay Sun, Charlestown Patriot-Bridge, Jamaica Plain Gazette, Mission Hill Gazette, Chelsea Record and Lynn Journal.


Right off the bat I winced

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.

"Pale by comparison" implies that the thing being compared is even more than what it is being compared to. If the MGC is inactive, that does not pale talk and machinations. It is in stark contrast to, perhaps.

welcome to our world...

By on

...over here in Eastie. Reading the Menino Times can at times feel like you're watching a Jr. High English teacher being flayed alive. And of course the boundaries between reporting and editorializing are mostly non-existent, but even with all that, at least it reports on local happenings. To paraphrase Churchill, it's the worst n'hood paper, except for all the others (which in this case is just like the Post-Gazette -- Mussolini's fav).

No comment rating on this page?

By on


(Btw, I agree with Lanny that the prose was seriously awkward throughout, so much so that I had to reread some sentences to make sure I had gotten all the dependent clauses straight. So +1 yourself from me, Lanny.)

(Also, I appreciated Mr. Resnek giving his perspective, but the piece felt much more like an op-ed than a report. A little more meat and a little less heat would have been welcome - eg a quick quantitative comparison between the amount of time the process has taken in other states compared to how we are progressing in MA.)

Comment rating added

By on

No conspiracy: You have to enable it for each "content type" you add to the system and I created a new content type for this and just forgot.

Hey Adam?

By on

Are you going to give equal spread to the anti-casino people here too? This is a really slanted pro argument.

Where does Josh Resnek live? Does he understand that Eastie gets all the crap that the rest of you guys don't want? Does he understand what it is like to be charged to go in and out of your own city or to have cabs refuse to take you there for under $60 at night? Or that maybe a lot of people here don't want gambling because a lot of their relatives have been addicted to it?

Just asking.

casino reporting

By on

He has more to say and no doubt it will be poorly written. The fact that he is pro-casino and has no problem putting that out there is not that big of a deal. Lots of people out there with lots of opinions. It's more that he is such a bad writer and so piss-poor at arguing anything. Actually posting more if his opinion pieces will probably only weaken the pro-casino side by giving undecided folks a negative impression of the people in favor.

But regardless of what I think of him there's no reason why his opinion shouldn't be posted here (unless we start a rigorous QA/QC process which would probably weed me out too).

Hes a thesaurus writer

Coming out of the gate with this:

"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."

This just says I like to sound smart. I am by no means a writer and I hail from a technical profession not known for wrting prowess, but even I can smell an amateur here. First off, this sentence has no structure. Secondly, I can count. Why tell us there are three regions and then identify them as "A, B and C?" Thirdly, how doe machinations pale by comparison to paralytic behavior? I am not sure how you compare apples to oranges. In what sense do I compare them, scale I suppose?

Just once sentence, but it says all you need to know. Amateurville.


By on

he has been a writer for almost 40 years and has owned several papers

Bad analogy

Sorry, but the Civil War analogy doesn't apply here. This is a long term decision and a lot of info has to be digested. If this were a pure business decision, it would have already been made. But it isn't - it's a political decision. All the proposed sites are viable candidates, so it comes down to politics. Yuck.

As someone living in Hopkinton, there's no way I want a casino in Milford. One reason is that the site may invade some great mt biking trails at Viet Nam (I have to check on this). But mostly, I don't believe in the casino business. The only reason it has been successful is because there have been very few places to go - simple supply and demand. Now that every state is contemplating a casino, the casino pie will have a lot more slices in it, and less money to be made, if any. Having three sites in MA is just plain stupid.

As much as everybody here at UHub hates Romney, he had the best proposal of all - extort money from CT for not building casinos in MA. Perfect.

This doesn't belong on Universal Hub

By on

I'm appalled that this editorial is given airtime here on Universal Hub. Many of us have come to rely on this blog to give us unbiased, detailed news about our city. This is the same junk that we're subjected to in the Eastie Times, just a loudspeaker for local politicians. Is Mr. Resnek disappointed that retirees are the only people who take his "newspapers" seriously? At least now a wider audience can see the kind of "reporting" that is fed to the trusting population.

And come on, this illustrates what is wrong with Boston government - "Anyone believing the Boston Herald's assertions that Menino is thinking about hedging his bet with Wynn in Everett has no understanding of the man and or what loyalty is all about." Loyalty to a few wealthy donors at the expense of the common good of the city... it's disgusting.

Nice editorial, prob should back it up with some facts.

"Traffic in Everett and access is a major problem in Everett more so than in Revere/East Boston."

This is an opinion, not borne from any traffic analysis. Please, either back these statements up with evidence or learn how to write.

A nuanced approach to dropping your opinion on others:

"Traffic in Everett and access is a major problem in Everett perhaps even more so than in Revere/East Boston."

Skimming it and seeing this was enough for me to dismiss this as a lazy slanted article.

What's the rush?

The author of this piece seems to take issue with how slow the commission is moving. Saying,

At the same time he resists moving up timetables, casino operators in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine and maybe in New Hampshire are preparing to take advantage of the Gaming Commission's slows.

How are they taking advantage of MA's slow pace? They were going to open Casinos regardless. At best they will get a year of additional business before the MA casinos open but people will go to whatever casino they like regardless of when it opened. There is even some marketing advantage of being the "new" casino.

Taking a slow, careful approach to Casinos seems like a good strategy for something as large and complex as gambling.

We are going to have to live with these Casinos for decades (centuries?) so we might we well try to get it right the first time. If the commission is doing its job it will try to learn from the mistakes other nearby states have made. It's not like people are going to avoid the Boston Casino because Providence was offering slots a year earlier. The fact there is competition for the Boston license can only be a good thing.

No Need for a Casino In Eastie....or Anywhere

By on

Here's the scoop - there is no need for any community across the commonwealth to be forced to host a casino.

The high level facts are as follows:

- Expanded Gaming - which will enable 3 casinos and 1 slots parlor to be installed in Massachusetts, has been legalized.

- Governor Patrick has installed the MA Gaming Commission to oversee the process of granting licenses and overseeing the industry.

- Locally Mayors are tasked with negotiating with developers.

- Mayor Menino has installed a Host Community Advisory Committee to assist him with the negotiation process.

- The MA Gaming Commission, Boston Officials the Host Community Advisory Committee - share the common goal of 'successfully' installing a casino at Suffolk Downs. Josh Resnek - in his role as editor of the East Boston Times and other Journal News Group publications has often joined in the chorus of pro-casino voices.

What hasn't happened - is the delivery of unbiased details around this issue or the mechanics of the process in ANY of the publications under Mr. Resnek's oversight.

Flowery comparisons and metaphors aside - here are more facts on the casino issue.

- Other mayors (i.e. Holyoke's 22 year old Mayor Alex Morse) have refused to enter into talks with developers

- Other communities (i.e. Foxboro) decided to impact the election day for pro-casino Town Selectmen - and voted them out thus ending the chance for casino discussion.

- We the people are the last line of defense. With the legislature at the statehouse approving the bill without bringing it to a statewide vote - Mayor Menino, his HCAC and the MA Gaming Commission poised to install casinos - giving the impression that a casino at Suffolk Downs is a 'done deal' - they're hoping we find ourselves glossing over one tiny but important fact. WE get to vote. It comes down to the people. We can protect our rights to a community where we are free to work, live, raise a family and build a business unencumbered by the ominous presence of a casino.

Communities across the commonwealth can defeat casino development. Simply demand more of your elected officials and news purveyors and VOTE NO.

Celeste Myers
No Eastie Casino

Am I the only one who read

Am I the only one who read the story in the Boston Globe about Joe Resnek, son of Josh Resnek, getting into Harvard because strings were pulled by someone involved with Suffolk Downs?

How did I miss that?

I read the article, but I missed the Joe O'Donnell part. Adam, if you are to retain any credibility, you need to sever ties with Mr. Resnek. He obviously is beyond biased considering he owes Mr. O'Donnell more than anyone could ever imagine.

When he decided to go to Harvard, he and his father began asking around for someone with connections to the college. Josh, who had just started a newspaper in Everett, surfaced with “a big old connection,’’ said Joe. Having noticed that a lot of kids from Everett schools were going to Harvard, he called the school superintendent, his longtime friend Fred Foresteire, and asked him for a favor. Could he help him get his son into Harvard? Would he reach out to his good friend Joseph O’Donnell, a major Harvard benefactor whom Boston magazine had recently declared “Boston’s most powerful person’’?

“He promised me he would do that,’’ said Josh, “but not before he met my son.’’