Santarpio's Pizza in East Boston

Santarpio’s Pizza in East Boston (Photo: Wikipedia)

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 

English: Logan Airport in East Boston.

English: Logan Airport in East Boston. (Photo: Wikipedia)

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.

English: Suffolk Downs MBTA station, East Boston

English: Suffolk Downs MBTA station, East Boston (Photo: Wikipedia)

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.

Categories: Boston, city, News

Tags: , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. Rizzo — “I’m walkin’ here!”


  2. Your last sentence says it all. No one knows what they had till it’s gone.


    • They are trying to move into the town next to ours. It would ruin the valley. Crime, drugs, pollution and tons of traffic. We barely have roads for the traffic we already have and that’s not very much. The idea is appalling.


  3. Nope they are not going to give up M.


    • My DIL says they are negotiating with our neighbor, Milford. They are just going to keep at it until someone finally says yes. Then, we’ll have all the benefits: organized (as opposed to disorganized) crime, pollution, non-stop traffic and drugs. All the good stuff. The benefits never end.


  4. I can agree–Massachusetts does not need a casino! When there was talk about building a casino in Palmer (I live near palmer), I thought that was a very ridiculous idea. Im grateful that the majority voted no on that! It seems like Mass residents aren’t gonna give up on this one since its been talked about for years.


    • You’re about a half hour from here, near Sturbridge, yes? We’ve got a lot of land and good roads. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. I don’t think they are ready to give up looking for a place to ruin … and I’m totally convinced this area could be easily ruined simply by bringing in busloads of people. There are lots of towns … if they keep trying, I’m afraid they will find one so hungry for some income, they’ll finally say yes.


      • Yep, I’m near Sturbridge. And I hope too that they don’t ruin the land. The tornado in 2011 already destroyed some of the land. We don’t need a casino to completely ruin it! 😉


        • I remember that tornado. It rolled down into the valley and took out a chunk of nearby Milford. It came VERY close to us. We actually had to go down into the basement. Who expects tornados around here? Yikes.

          The casino would only start the ruination. People would finish the job. The charm of this region is that it is beautiful. And we’ve almost recovered from the pollution of the 1800s and early 1900s. We don’t need another big polluter and armies of gamblers.


          • That tornado hit about three miles away from my house! I was very scared and I was praying that everything would be fine so then I could finish my last class and graduate from college. I’m very grateful that my house was in one piece at the end and I was able to graduate that summer. 🙂



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