Massachusetts Gambling Update: Mostly Snake Eyes So Far

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- It’s been nearly six-and-a-half-years since then-Gov. Deval Patrick celebrated the approval of legalized casino-style gambling in Massachusetts by saying: “I have always believed that if done right, expanded gaming can create jobs, generate new revenue and spur economic growth in every region of the Commonwealth.”

So with all this time having passed, let’s check in on the status of this wonderful economic initiative, shall we?

There is a slots parlor up and running for nearly three years in Plainville, generating anywhere from five to six million a month in state taxes.

That’s welcome revenue, as are the jobs created there, but it’s a drop in the bucket of our overall job and revenue needs.

Of the three full-scale casinos allowed under the law, only two have been licensed, one in Springfield run by MGM, and one in Everett owned by Wynn Resorts. A group wanted to build a third one in Brockton, pumping millions of dollars and new jobs into that economically beleaguered area, but the state Gaming Commission nixed it.

And now the two casinos under construction appear to be in flux, with the Wall Street Journal reporting the Wynn project owners are talking to MGM about buying them out as they struggle to keep their license amid fallout from Wynn’s sexual harassment scandal.

It’s unclear who would take over the Springfield project if that happens.

And while we struggle to get a casino open here, it appears the golden casino goose may have died off.

Gaming industry stock prices are mostly a sea of red ink; the biggest exception is an online gambling site based in China.

“Because of initiatives like” the gaming law, Gov. Patrick said way back when, “Massachusetts continues to lead the nation out of this recession.”

 Make that - in spite of.

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