- The methodology is deeply flawed, with a study supposedly representative of the entire year, taking place on a 5-day holiday weekend (President's Day).
- The study counts license plates and uses the proportion of drivers as the proportion of income, without trying to figure out how drivers from different regions spend their money differently (ie if locals, addicted to slots, spend more, and if Massachusetts drivers are going there for the shows and other non-gambling entertainment, which have negligible profit margins at best).
- The annual report never, ever looks at the costs associated with casinos -- the hundreds of millions it would take to offset losses to the state lottery, create a new state bureaucracy that would need a 1,000-person staff (according to the Attorney General), cover the legal costs and potential jail time relating to the thousands of thefts, drunk drivers, embezzlements and other crimes related to costumers at the casinos, never mind local costs to regional communities.
No wonder now that, according to Jim O'Sullivan of the State House News Service, the Speaker is now considering a measure to skip out on his racino quest, if he can't get enough House and Senate members on board, and just go even more brazenly for the something-for-nothing scheme -- just giving a load of cash directly to the old tracks.
One theory cropping up among senior legislators and lobbyists is that DeLeo, if he cannot muster a veto-proof majority, could wait for Patrick to send back a slots veto – a move that could benefit Patrick among the progressive base that has frowned on “convenience gambling” even as it clamors for increased funds for state services. Or, if slots don’t clear the House-Senate compromise panel, DeLeo could be forced to act earlier.Free money for the race tracks. Can I get some?
The speaker could then propose, according to this scenario, a way to preserve jobs at the tracks without granting slot machines: by supplementing their existing live racing and simulcast betting purses with cuts from the new tax base created by casino revenues.
That's what this is and always was about. DeLeo wants his bill to benefit his two tracks. That's all he cares about. Whether we do this by giving those two tracks a noncompetitive bid on slots, ruining the chances of getting a big licensing fee for any slot enterprise, or we just give those slots the pot 'o gold at the end of the rainbow matters not. This was never about doing good for Massachusetts, this was only ever about special interests in a lobby that's let the flood gates open. Will the citizens of Massachusetts stand for it any longer?