In gambling showdown, greed is king
By Michael Jonas
News that things are getting testy among legislators trying to reach agreement on an expanding gambling bill is hardly surprising. When it comes to jockeying for position in the big-money, high-stakes world of legalized gambling, the long knives are drawn quickly, and the nastiest fights often occur among those who are ostensibly all on the same side.
That’s exactly how things seem to be playing out, with the standoff appearing to center on the House insistence on slot machines at race tracks – a move that Speaker Robert DeLeo apparently sees as his legislative legacy – while the Senate wants only full casinos. Could the failure of either side to budge end up killing any gambling bill for the year?
That’s exactly what the leading anti-gambling group seems to be hoping, as it seized on the stalemate today and called for the whole effort to be dropped. “It’s well past time for the speaker and Senate president to stop this greed-driven secret soap opera and focus on producing other bills which will have a positive impact on our Commonwealth,” Kathleen Conley Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, said in a statement.
“Grey talks about the gambling battle more in the language of the Vietnam War infantryman that he was than the Methodist minister he now is. Grey says he often gets calls from people in the gambling industry who share information with him as part of an effort to do in a rival’s bid. ‘Their greed and their willingness to attack each other is worth two divisions to us,’ he says.”