As I said earlier in the day, I went to the casino hearing today.
I wrote about it at BlueMassGroup, as well as gave a live, on-the-air report on today's LeftAhead (fast forward about 27 minutes in).
I'm going to write a big-picture blog for Ryan's Take soon, but I just wanted to present what went on today at BMG, along with a little bit about what I learned so far. So read BMG to get the scoop. To sum up that knowledge, I'm confident that only 1 of 3 things can now happen regarding casinos:
1. The House, yet again, defeats an attempt to legalize slot machines.
2. The House legalizes casinos, but creates it's own bill to do it.
3. The House doesn't legalize casinos, but gives the state's race tracks the ability to become "racinos," but foolishly that opens the door for a mega-resort casino in Middleboro or elsewhere.
Personally, option number 1 is still what's probably going to happen: there are at least 12 people, out of 19, who have committed to being opposed to casinos on the committee that matters - the one that can recommend it to the entire house, or essentially kill it if it doesn't (unless a majority of house members vote to bring it up to a full vote - but is that seriously going to happen with a Speaker opposed to casinos?). That committee is also chaired by Representative Dan Bosley, the champion (along with Sen. Sue Tucker) on casino issues. Most importantly of all, the House hasn't supported casinos in the past and has a Speaker willing to whip people into shape to make sure it won't in the future.
All that said, I'd say option 3 is more likely than option 2, though still not very likely at all. I was almost shocked to see certain House members be more concerned about the Race Tracks than the owners of the Race Tracks. The distinguished gentlemen and women of our state house on that committee may have been generally receptive of casinos, but I don't think a single one of them would be if it meant the race tracks would close in favor of larger resort casinos, even if ownership stayed the same. It was a particularly hilarious line of thought too, considering that the Suffolk Downs people kept talking about how they're now the only thoroughbred horse track in New England - and home to the "legendary Seabiscuit." (Memo to Suffolk Downs peeps: Seabiscuit's been dead for decades - maybe that's not exactly the best marketing campaign to stay relevant nowadays, huh?).
So, more on my thoughts later - and less on Seabiscuit.