Living out here, 70 miles away from bustling Boston, the endless war over building (or not) a casino on Suffolk Downs raceway seems unlikely to have much effect on us semi-rural types. There are already two major casinos not far from here, just cross the border in Connecticut, Really just around the corner if you feel that itch to lose your hard-earned money. Plenty of flashing machines and gaming tables. More than enough organized busing to get you there and back home again.
Here’s the story. Not the entire story, but an overview, sort of. The citizens of East Boston rejected the whole thing and the pols are scurrying to try to pull their irons out of the fire. From the Boston Herald:
Pols call new Suffolk casino bid a longshot
Suffolk Downs’ eleventh- hour effort to shift its proposed casino site from East Boston to Revere is looking more like a Hail Mary bid, with House Speaker Robert DeLeo expressing doubts and Boston Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh touting Milford yesterday, while Revere’s own mayor said he’s in the dark.
“Right now, quite honestly, I’m waiting to hear from Suffolk Downs,” Revere Mayor Daniel Rizzo told the Herald yesterday — in sharp contrast to the race track’s claim that it is working closely with the city.
Suffolk Downs CEO Chip Tuttle said in a statement late yesterday he is “working in real time with Revere and with potential suitable gaming partners on an alternative proposal that would meet all the necessary requirements.”
Rizzo, who tweeted Wednesday that he strongly backs a Revere casino, said yesterday, “I’m taking all of my cues from them going forward, because it’s them that has to make the case to the Gaming Commission. Our voters made the case by voting yes in an overwhelming fashion. It’s up to them now.”
DeLeo echoed a chorus of pessimism over the Revere plan yesterday, calling it “a noble effort,” but adding, “I’m not sure at this time if that’s feasible.” Meanwhile, in an interview with WCVB-TV, Walsh said that since East Boston voted down the proposed casino there, he would prefer the eastern region’s casino license go to Foxwoods in Milford, saying a casino in Revere or Everett would have impacts on Boston “with little return.”
– See more at: The Boston Herald
East Boston is a most put-upon neighborhood. They’ve got Logan Airport. It’s a place where you talk in bursts between long silences to let the planes pass. If you live towards the end of a busy runway, you become intimate with the underbody of the latest, greatest passenger transport. The infrastructure out there is old. It’s a poor neighborhood, probably because there aren’t many people all that eager to live with the noise. If you want your world rocked, probably this isn’t what you meant.
The roads need widening, the bridges need upgrading. The streets lack parking and the whole area lacks any sense of thrivingness (is that a word?). I can’t remember a time when it was any other way. A blue-collar area, hard-working people many of whom are clinging to the fringes of the middle class by fingernails. What would a casino do for them? Bring in busloads of happy holiday spenders, organized crime (like we don’t have enough of our own, home-grown criminals and need to get some from other places?). They tried to sell the locals on how much business a casino would bring in and how many jobs it would create.
Eastie people weren’t buying the pitch. Casinos have been around for a while. Everyone knows the only improvements the neighborhood will see from its presence are better roads leading to the casino … which will be more than made up for by the increased traffic. And those bums at the casino? They’re not going into downtown Eastie to pick up a pack of smokes or a quart of milk. They’re going to stay at the casino. They’ll never see where the townies live and wouldn’t care if there was no town at all. Not their problem.
Jobs? How many? Really? Connecticut isn’t booming with jobs or fat payments from their two huge casinos. Short of doing a Nevada and become all casino all the time, the residents who came out in droves to say “Hell no!” to the referendum see little advantage — and plenty of disadvantage — to the idea. Shot it down. Whack, rejected.
Now they’re saying how short-sighted people are, how hard it is to do business in Massachusetts. But you know? I’m pretty sure that the hard-headed Yankees over there in Eastie are just a little smarter than other dupes and shills the casino advocates have dealt with before. A little better informed. A lot harder to fool.
What does it mean to me? We get to stay off the radar. So far, praise the lord, no local fathead has decided building a huge casino would cure what ails us. Glad to have East Boston fight the battle on our behalf, even if they don’t know they are fighting for us and wouldn’t much care anyhow.
This doesn’t mean the casino guys are going to give up. No sirree. They’ll keep trying to find some community desperate enough, ignorant enough or poor enough to figure they have nothing to lose.
Thing is? There’s always something to lose. You won’t know what it was til it’s gone.
- Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots (dailypost.wordpress.com)
- East Boston Rejects Suffolk Downs Casino Proposal (wbur.org)
- Voters in Mass. reject plans for resort casinos (mysanantonio.com)
- Suffolk Downs defeated in E. Boston; will explore Revere-only project (boston.com)
- Suffolk Downs drops Caesars from Mass. casino bid (kansascity.com)
- Voters in 3 Mass. locations cast casino ballots (newsday.com)
- Suffolk’s Plan B: Build it all within Revere (bostonherald.com)