Casinos’ slipping fortunes

It seems like eons ago that Bob DeLeo was extolling his casino bill (insisting on calling it a “jobs bill”), Deval Patrick was waxing rhapsodic about something called a “destination resort casino” (which was said to be wholly different than a plain vanilla casino), and everyone was giddy about all the money the state would be raking in without asking taxpayers to fork over involuntarily (through taxes) a nickel more of their hard-earned money.

“Hyperbole was always part of the pitch,” writes Joan Vennochi in yesterday’s Globe. “But today, the rosiest projections seem ever more fanciful. Just as Massachusetts starts to bank on the money, the glitter is wearing off the industry.”

 

The Bay State’s market timing when it comes to casinos looks like it couldn’t be worse. Venocchi ticks off the dismal developments, including the closure of four of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos, woes for gambling spots in West Virginia and Delaware, and, perhaps most ominously,  “double-digit declines” in slots revenues at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

Last month, even before the latest Atlantic City closure announcements, the CEO of Foxwoods told The Wall Street Journal, “There is dramatic oversupply in the industry right now.”

Against that backdrop of market saturation, gambling foe David D’Alessandro tells Vennochi that, far from generating lots of new revenue, casinos here will just end up “stealing from our own lottery.”

None of this seems to have fully caught up with the casino debate in Massachusetts, which will get a full airing with a ballot question this fall asking voters whether they want to repeal the state’s casino law. But it is inevitable that the tough times for casinos will eventually move front and center into the debate, and that certainly won’t help the odds of the casino companies looking to land here and their local backers.

“Despite growing evidence to the contrary, Massachusetts still thinks of casinos as a growth industry,” writes Vennochi. “Maybe they were 20 years ago. But today, starting up the casino industry in Massachusetts feels like starting up Wang Laboratories in the age of Google.”

MICHAEL JONAS

BEACON HILL

Gov. Deval Patrick says he isn’t running for anything, but he continues to raise large sums for his PAC.

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MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Worcester is plagued by zombie properties, homes that are left vacant as they make their way slowly through the foreclosure process, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

CASINOS

Wampanoag chief has mixed feelings about a casino, the Associated Press reports.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Paul Krugman argues that the deficit crisis has fizzled, noting that this year’s federal deficit will be less than one-third what it was in 2009.

A Wall Street Journal op-ed column argues that America’s insatiable appetite for drugs triggered the waves of child migration now roiling the border.

Weird fallout continues from the recent Republican US Senate primary in Mississippi, where black voters helped save incumbent Thad Cochran, a guy most black Mississippians have had pretty little affection for.

ELECTIONS

Polls point to deep problems for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general, CommonWealth reports.

Another candidate — a Marblehead businessman running as an independent — jumps into the race against US Rep. John Tierney.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The fight over control of the Demoulas Supermarkets chain spilled over into stores as worker protests stalled food deliveries, the Eagle-Tribune reports. Eight Demoulas employees who have been part of the protests are fired, the Globe reports.

Is the used car market the next subprime bubble being exploited by lenders and Wall Street?

EDUCATION

State officials are redoubling efforts to promote “dual enrollment” courses that let high school students earn college credits.

President Obama’s visit to Worcester Technical High School last month cost $186,000, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

Security cameras are being installed on all school buses in Boston.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to ditch the Common Core education standards, the latest Republican presidential aspirant to give a thumbs down to the testing system, Time reports.

HEALTH CARE

Paul Levy posts his comment to Judge Janet Sanders about the consent agreement between Partners HealthCare and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

TRANSPORTATION

The new no-cash Tobin Bridge toll system is activated, the Associated Press reports.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Environmentalists want to use $20 million included in a bond bill for buying back homes along the state’s shores, the Salem News reports. Meanwhile, others want to use state funds to kill white-tailed deer in the Blue Hills and on Cape Cod because there are too many of them.

MEDIA

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

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