To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Height of Hypocrisy

Gov Patrick of Massachusetts is ratcheting up his campaign to license three brick-and-mortar casinos in the state, selling gambling as part of the Commonwealth's culture.
Governor Deval Patrick launched a dramatic campaign yesterday for his plan to introduce three resort casinos in Massachusetts, telling a packed State House auditorium that gambling has long been part of the state's history and would not change the character of the Commonwealth.[...]

Patrick's choreographed display of force was clearly designed to put to rest criticism from some quarters that he had made only half-hearted attempts to sell his high-profile plan. The governor's aides said yesterday marked the beginning of an earnest political campaign to persuade lawmakers and the public of its merits.

"For a very long time now, gaming has been in practice in Massachusetts, and gaming revenues have been used to support public projects," Patrick said. "In 1762, John Hancock raised lottery money to rebuild Faneuil Hall after a fire. Lottery funds were used to finance the Revolution."

The dormitory at Harvard College where Patrick lived during his freshman year was built in the 1800s entirely with lottery funds, he added.
Yes, this is the same Deval Patrick who wants to criminalize online gaming in his state. From a Globe article last month:
Even as Governor Deval Patrick seeks to license three resort casinos in Massachusetts, he hopes to clamp down on the explosion in Internet gambling by making it illegal for state residents to place a bet on line. He has proposed jail terms of up to two years and $25,000 fines for violators.

The provision, buried deep in Patrick's bill to allow three casinos to the state, puts the governor at odds with a fellow Democrat: US Representative Barney Frank, the sponsor of federal legislation to license and regulate online gambling nationally. Yesterday Frank strongly criticized the governor's plan to punish online gamers while inviting casino operators to set up shop.
And I guess slot machines and horse racing fall in the same category as online gaming, and don't count as part of the "Commonwealth's gambling culture":
Meanwhile, the state's racetrack owners tried to make their case that the Legislature should return to a proposal to give them slot machines to keep the ailing racing industry alive, rather than approve casinos, a plan that has been defeated before and faces an uphill battle this year.

The governor has said he would veto any legislation that specifically included slot machines at racetracks.

Yesterday, his administration said that racetrack facilities would be less lucrative - about $200 a day for slots at tracks, compared with $350 at large-scale resort casinos - and would not create the amount of jobs and building activity that resort casinos would.
It's simple really. Which form or venue for gaming provides the state with the best cut on the action. The state then provides protection for highest producer and locks out the competition. Nothing more than an elected crime family. Articles here and here.

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