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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Kaching! redux

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes (or a vampire rising from the crypt) the issue progressives love to hate is about to return. In the midst of a deep recession that has defied all efforts at bringing new dollars to state coffers, gambling is moving back to the front burner.

And this time the debate won't be about whether we should expand it but only about where and how.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is expected to outline a plan today at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. The obvious significance is that his predecessor, Sal DiMasi (D-Looking at Hard Time), was Horatio at the bridge when we last debated the topic and DeLeo represents a district which includes Suffolk Downs and Wonderland Greyhound Park.

That's why DeLeo is expected to call for slots at tracks in addition to opting for the idea of resort casinos, arguing no doubt that slots at the tracks can inject instant dollars into the economy while we take the time to site and build what supporters like to call "destination" casinos.

And boy does the Commonwealth need cash.

The reemergence of casino gambling in an election year represents a mixed blessing for Deval Patrick, who alienated much of his progressive base with his advocacy on the issue last time around. You know the base he needs to turn out in droves if he hopes to keep the Corner Office out of the clutches of Charlie Baker.

But did I mention the state desperately needs cash? And that Senate President Therese Murray, though decidedly cool to Patrick does seem to share his idea that resorts are good but tracks are bad for slots.

And, in the privacy of the voting booth, will probably vote for Baker.

I noted the other day that while the polls hold a lot of bad news for Patrick, there is a way that he could thread a needle to victory. If he can successfully maneuver his way around and through this issue, he won't be needing one of these gadgets.

Oh, and did I mention that we need the cash?

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