All bets are on
Way back in 2005, when casino gambling in Massachusetts was still just a twinkle in Bob DeLeo’s eye, Gary Loveman, the Harvard Business School prof-turned-casino-pitchman regaled the region’s business bigs at a downtown luncheon of the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club.
Loveman, then the chief executive of Harrah’s Entertainment, talked with the unbridled confidence of a late-night infomercial salesman of how casinos were completely revitalizing former economic backwaters like Joliet, Illinois.
At the time, the prospects for casinos in Massachusetts did not seem particularly bright, with then-House speaker Sal DiMasi dead set against the idea. But Loveman said if things changed, he stood ready to answer the higher call of duty. “My humble company would be honored to serve,” he said.
A similar eagerness toward selfless sacrifice is now washing over various outposts in the wake of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that clears the way for states to legalize sports betting.
“I think Massachusetts needs to be thoughtful about its approach to the issue, but I think a consensus is emerging that the time has come to do something,” state Sen. Eric Lesser, the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, told the Globe.
That was a quick consensus.
But what that “something” might be is anyone’s guess. Or bet.
“I think there’s a place for it,” Jeremy Jacobs, the owner of the Boston Bruins, told the paper about sports betting. And that place, he added, should definitely include a cut for him. “[I]f they are going to gamble on your sport, I think you should be compensated for it.”
Those running the state’s new casino industry, shockingly, think their facilities are best suited to handle any sports wagering that comes online.
But how can you look past the most experienced hands, asks Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at largely moribund Suffolk Downs, which still does a healthy business in off-track bets. Suffolk Downs is already in “the legal betting business” and would be “ready to go as soon as, if not ahead of, a lot of the other wagering businesses in the state,” Tuttle said.
Then there are the sports fantasy sites like DraftKings, which certainly don’t want to be left at the gate.
Of course, the state could also decide to keep the business in-house and set up the state Lottery as the sports bookie.
“The engagement is unbelievable,” Jacobs said of places where sports betting is allowed.
Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald does not disagree. But he says the engagement of sports gambling would only mean more destruction of “marriages, homes, careers, and reputations.” A Herald editorial also throws up a caution flag and says there would be “real human casualties” to allowing sports gambling.
Fitzgerald says it will also open the door to all sorts of shenanigans on the part of athletes.
“It’s bad enough to have to wonder if your favorite team tanked the outcome of a game in jockeying for a better playoff position or higher draft choice,” he writes. With legalized sports betting, “it’s not hard to imagine the windfalls that could be surreptitiously offered to players capable of choreographing an outcome.”
If Massachusetts jumps in, the state may start out running from behind. New Jersey officials say they’ll have sports gambling up and running by Memorial Day, and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has included $23.5 million in sports gambling revenue in her next budget.
Meanwhile, the one sure bet, gambling expert Clyde Barrow tells the Globe, is that consultants will “make a lot of money doing studies.”
“It’s going to be a free-for-all,” he says.
Sen. Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, and Sen. Ryan Fattman, a Republican from Webster, have filed dueling budget amendments dealing with undocumented immigrants. (Boston Herald) Hillary Chabot takes a dim view of Eldridge’s proposal to make Massachusetts a “sanctuary state.” (Boston Herald)
In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal involving the spouse of Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, a Senate committee pushes for an update of the chamber’s sex harassment policies. (MassLive) The Globe’s Josh Miller heads out to Rosenberg’s former Western Mass. district, where most of those he talks to wish the veteran Democrat was still in the Senate. Harvey Silverglate condemns the “wolf pack of pols and public officials” who brought Rosenberg down for standing by his man. (WGBH)
A Globe editorial says it’s time to overhaul the state’s sex education law for schools.
ABC Disposal of New Bedford is threatening to quit picking up recyclables in five communities it serves unless those municipalities increase payments to cover the company’s losses from China’s decision to restrict contaminated recycled materials. The communities are warning they will sue ABC for breach of contract if it follows through on the threat. (Standard-Times)
Anti-fossil fuel protesters disrupted and eventually forced a cancellation of a Lowell City Council subcommittee hearing on a National Grid proposal to replace about 2.5 miles of an existing natural gas pipeline. (Lowell Sun)
A ruling by the attorney general’s office that the West Bridgewater selectmen violated the state’s Open Meeting Law has been upheld by a judge but the selectmen will meet behind closed doors in executive session to decide whether to appeal. (The Enterprise)
North Korea is threatening to call off talks with President Trump after the US held joint military exercises with South Korea. (New York Times)
Three Republicans running for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s seat take different stances on whether they would vote for President Trump if he were up for reelection. John Kingston said he doesn’t do hypotheticals, Rep. Geoff Diehl said yes he would enthusiastically vote for Trump, and Beth Lindstrom said she would if he was the GOP nominee. (Telegram & Gazette)
The Massachusetts economy remains strong, but a Moody’s report says it is vulnerable because the state has one of the highest levels of debt and unfunded pension liabilities in the country. (MassLive)
Lots of restaurants in Boston’s Seaport are feeling the squeeze of sky-high rents and lots of competition for diners. (Boston Herald)
Worcester power broker Michael Angelini retires as chairman of the Hanover Group. (Telegram & Gazette)
Quincy College President Peter Tsaffaras and the chairman of the board of governors have resigned and Mayor Thomas Koch has taken control of the city-owned school following a decision by state officials to revoke certification for the college’s nursing program. (Patriot Ledger)
Attorney General Maura Healey says her office will allow the sale of Mount Ida College to the University of Massachusetts Amherst go through — but she plans to investigate whether Mount Ida officials violated their fiduciary duties. (Boston Globe)
US Rep. Stephen Lynch echoes an idea Boston Mayor Marty Walsh floated — that the city ought to consider running the University of Massachusetts Boston. (Dorchester Reporter)
A North Quincy daycare center reopened after no other children or workers showed indications of typhoid fever. Earlier, one child had been diagnosed with the life-threatening virus. (Patriot Ledger)
Keolis is adding four more stops at the Boston Landing commuter rail stop to meet rising demand. The strong growth at Boston Landing could have implications for the debate over the proposed West Station stop less than a mile away. (CommonWealth)
What’s shiny, smooth, and has that new car smell? Hint: Gov. Charlie Baker can’t wait for more of them to arrive. (CommonWealth)
The Steamship Authority will seek an outside independent review of its operations after hundreds of cancellations in the first four months of the year. (Cape Cod Times)
Karen Antman, dean of the Boston University School of Medicine, backs construction of a bridge to Long Island where she would like to see “the most promising potential site for recovery facilities of the size and scale needed to deal with the regional epidemic.”
Pilgrim nuclear power plant was operating at reduced power while workers removed mussels growing in the plant’s main condenser. (Patriot Ledger)
The state Division of Marine Fisheries has lifted the ban on lobstering in Cape Cod Bay after aerial surveys showed no right whales in the area. (Cape Cod Times)
Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri is subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating police misconduct, sources tell MassLive.
A Fall River woman is facing potential charges after police say she falsely identified herself as an officer and displayed a gun while claiming to look for a parolee. (Herald News)
The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s largest newspaper, cuts its staff by a third and trims back several print sections. (Salt Lake Tribune)PASSINGS
Idiosyncratic author Tom Wolfe, who started as a reporter for the Springfield Union in western Massachusetts and went on to write some of the most iconic books of his generation, such as “The Right Stuff” and “The Bonfires of the Vanities,” has died at the age of 88. (New York Times)