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Keller @ Large: Casino Debate Has Real Meaning

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Artist rendering of proposed Mohegan Sun casino in Revere. (Mohegan Sun Photo)

Artist rendering of proposed Mohegan Sun casino in Revere. (Mohegan Sun Photo)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Supporters of the proposed Mohegan Sun casino at Suffolk Downs said for weeks that the Revere referendum on their plan would pass easily, and they were right.

The same coalition that pulled off the big upset by vetoing the casino in East Boston last fall – neighbors and clergy skeptical that the good would outweigh the bad – fell far short this time.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Perhaps the East Boston debacle was a wake up call that prompted the casino moguls and their local allies to work harder this time, and assume a bit less public infatuation with their product.

That sounds like a good idea going forward.

Over the next few months, casinos and slots are going to become much more than just a sketch and a distant promise. The slots license will be awarded by the Gaming Commission this week, and the casino licenses are set to follow in late spring.

As they become reality, expect expanded gambling to come under even more skeptical scrutiny.

We’re already seeing the negative impact casino money can have.

Just being around it has apparently persuaded Commission Chairman Steve Crosby that it’s ok for him and his co-workers to splurge on executive luxuries with money that the casino law intended to be used to meet public needs.

Crosby may feel he needs a luxury hotel and fancy dinner when he travels for business, but I can assure him most taxpayers disagree.

With Revere now in the mix, we can expect a real debate on the Commission and among ourselves over which of the two Boston-area proposals offers more benefit than pain – or if either do.

With a possible casino law repeal vote this fall lurking in the wings, this is a social and political debate with real meaning, and one that might not go as well for the casino lobby as Revere did.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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