Pushing for Expanded Gaming makes Sense

Thursday, March 10, 2011
By Transcript Staff

-By Joshua Resnek

It is the right time and we are in the right place to urge the Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo to make haste in bringing to the floor of the House a new version of the expanded gambling bill.

We have all known the Speaker for a long, long time and great work that he has done for Winthrop and the surrounding neighborhoods which cannot be matched by anyone who served before him in the same position.

Because Winthrop, Revere and  East Boston are the Speaker’s home base, we have the hopeful expectation that he will do whatever is necessary this time to satisfy the governor. We know the governor will sign an expanded gambling bill tomorrow if it is a bill he would be inclined to sign.

The Speaker is a loyal guy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with loyalty.

He is a fair man – and being fair is what has made him who he is.

And he is a humble and honest man.

So it is with a sense of inevitability that we ask him to move forward with an expanded gambling/casino bill the governor can sign.

Why?

Wonderland is closed. Its former employees are out of work but will be first in line if gaming comes to Suffolk Downs. The recent difficulty Suffolk Downs had in reaching an agreement with the horsemen for an 80-day meet shows the fragility of the local racing business. Now’s the time.

Mr. Fields, the owner of Suffolk Downs, given the right after winning and paying untold millions for a casino license for Suffolk Downs, would put to work more than 1,000 people overnight – and it would be his pleasure.

In the two years it would take to completely finish off a casino development at Suffolk Downs, thousands more would be hired from the building trades. Hundreds more would be hired at the casino itself.

And the coming of a casino would naturally boost horse racing revenues and lead further to more new jobs, more tax dollars generated and more private investment at a time when this district – the Speaker’s district, needs all of that.

The economic stimulus in this district – his district – would be so over the top that he would likely be celebrated for years to come as the man who changed the economic history of this district in a big, big way.

It is almost entirely up to him to do this.

He should do this as soon as possible.

Nothing is more important right now to Winthrop, East Boston and Revere than an economic revival.

As a son of Eastie, and as a resident of Winthrop the Speaker should be advocating right now for huge private capital investment and for thousands of jobs with an expanded gambling bill the governor will sign.

All he has to do is act and his colleagues in government will follow.

The Winthrop Chamber of Commerce has been running a poll on its website (www.winthropchamber.com) which asks: Would you favor expanded gaming at Suffolk Downs? And would you favor a resort casino? Do you want slots only? Is a casino bad for the area? Are you against gambling?

To date there have been 277 who voted.

The overwhelming majority are in favor of a casino at Suffolk Downs. Only a few voted for slots while a very small number said they were against gambling.

The Chamber poll isn’t exact polling but it makes a case.

In any event, it is now entirely up to the Speaker – and we are hoping he moves on this in the near future.

It means a lot to all of us and to the local economy.

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