"Patrick said he would vote against a casino in the Berkshire town of Richmond where he has a home, but he’s fine with siting a gambling complex in more economically desperate communities. He wants democracy to prevail on a community-by-community basis, but not via a statewide ballot question."

Joan Vennochi, Deval Patrick’s casino confusion, Boston Globe,December 5, 2013

Why would the same top State lawmakers who championed the push to bring casinos to Massachusetts balk at the notion of having one in their own city or town? The real answer, of course, is that they know that casinos come with a lot of negative impacts - but they also know that they'll never have to live near one.

But they're not hypocrites. It's just Democracy in action.

They say that the democratic process is working. That the gambling law is working just as it should. That host communities get to vote.

Of course, they are conveniently forgetting that the impacts of a casino will extend well beyond town borders, and neglect to mention that, while host communities get to vote, surrounding towns, some even abutting the proposed casino property itself, have no say at all.

They point to the legislative process and insist it was representative, and the debate leading up to the law's passage, rigorous - hoping you'll forget that the Legislature debated the issue for the previous 30 years without passage, until it found itself with three very pro-casino lawmakers filling the highest ranking seats in State Government, upon which formerly staunch anti-casino members of the house and senate leapt like lemmings off the casino cliff, giving the bill enough votes to pass.

They also know that gambling operators spend thousands of dollars trying to influence host community referendums, while opponents have extremely limited funds or time to educate voters. Casinos are likely to be approved in poorer communities with high unemployment. More affluent communities, those with an active political base or elected officials who oppose casinos are less likely to approve them.

And so, while many of our NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) leaders have convinced themselves that hiding their personal distaste for casinos behind a shield of democracy is justifiable, shouldn't the rest of us ask: Is it really leadership?

Pressed by a radio show caller from Palmer, where voters last week rejected a proposed Mohegan Sun casino, Gov. Deval Patrick said Thursday that he would vote against a casino if one were proposed in Richmond, the western Massachusetts town where he owns a home.

Saying he could not speak for his neighbors, Patrick told Mike from Palmer, "I would vote against it personally" and went on to emphasize that the casino law he signed in 2011 allows "up to" three casinos and a slot parlor.

Massachusetts Senate President Therese Murray

"No," Senate President Therese Murray told the News Service Monday when asked if she would approve of a casino in Plymouth.

"Plymouth doesn't' need a casino. It's a historic destination."

Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo

"I don’t know about Winthrop. Winthrop doesn't have enough space, so let me just put that right out there. If Winthrop was in another location and we had enough space, I'd say so. We're having difficulty right now just trying to figure out where to put a high school and a middle school combination, but obviously I would be supportive if I live in a place with proper space," DeLeo said Wednesday.

"What I envisioned was when we wrote the legislation, and obviously it came to a final vote, was that any community that did not want a casino wasn't going to have a casino, no matter what . . . This has proven us correct," DeLeo said.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley

Coakley said no one would want to build a casino in her community of Medford. But after being prodded twice by Kaplan and the moderator, WGBY Director of Public Affairs Jim Madigan, she answered that if there was a vote on a casino in Medford, she would probably vote no.

"It's not the first place I'd look for economic development,” she said of casinos, but the Legislature and some communities have approved them. "This is what democracy is about."

More Notable NIMBYS

Steve Crosby, Chairman of the Massachusetts Gambling Commission, and the guy who hands out casino licenses, doesn't want to live "too close" to a casino because of "property values". Apparently everyone else's property values are of little concern to Steve.

Recently retired head of the American Gaming Association, Frank Farenkopf famously admitted he would "work very, very hard against" a casino in his own town.

Gary Loveman, Ceasar's Entertainment CEO, member of the board directors of the American Gaming Association, and resident of Wellesley, Massachusetts would "absolutely NOT" like to live near a casino.

The Smartest Guys Not in the Room: See who promotes gambling, but proudly doesn't participate.

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