Speaker Robert DeLeo, formerly of East Boston and now of Winthrop, is believed to be in favor of introducing slot machines into the state’s remaining tracks before going to the full casino concept.
Speaker DeLeo has his own mind, and lately, he’s not afraid of using it. He has shown an ability to steer the House where he wants to steer it, and in doing so, he is helping to create public policy.
Our hope is for Speaker DeLeo to put the slot machine venue aside in preference to the casino venue.
The casino venue is much better business all around than slots here and there.
If Speaker DeLeo throws his considerable support to casino licenses, he will help to generate $300 to $600 million in licensing fees, upfront, right away, from the private sector.
Slots can’t produce a fraction of this money in licensing fees.
In addition, slot machines don’t produce a fraction of the income that full casinos will generate. Also, casinos generate more jobs, more tourism, more everything, compared to slots.
Casinos attract a better crowd.
Speaker DeLeo should opt for a casino license at Suffolk Downs.
Money, investment, jobs, future taxes, and everything that comes from a $500 million development at a time when there is virtually no development.
Giving Suffolk Downs slots doesn’t come close to solving the state’s financial issues.
Having Suffolk pay for a casino license, perhaps $200 million or more, would allow Speaker DeLeo to go into the governor’s office with the check in his hand.
He’d be a hero and a businessman at the same time. Both are good qualifications for being a notable speaker of the House.
If Speaker DeLeo goes with slots first, it’s certain there will be rumblings about not enough jobs being created, not enough investment being made, not enough new taxes being generated – and this might cloud the future for casino licenses.
A casino license at Suffolk Downs gives Boston a big city persona. It is one more reason for the more than 15 million tourists who arrive here at Logan Airport to enjoy themselves with a bit of gambling, shopping and eating.
This is what Mayor Menino is aiming for.
It is what Speaker DeLeo should be aiming for as well.
And the beauty of a casino is it is all private money being invested. Not a dime is needed from the state.
It is no one’s loss but the investors if every single thing that can go wrong goes wrong.
And if there is a success, then everyone shares in it, and Speaker DeLeo justifiably claims it as his own.