by Ray Poirier | One thing politicians learn early in their careers is the need to accurately count votes. Apparently, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, currently in his first term, needed to take an additional course in the subject.
A week before the Massachusetts House began debate on Patrick’s proposal that the state license three casinos, the governor told reporters he had the votes necessary to pass the bill. This despite warnings from the powerful House Speaker, Sal DiMasi, that the proposal was going nowhere.
Outsiders, such as Boston area political science teachers, were advising Patrick to graciously bow out of the fight that had begun last fall. It was obvious to them that DiMasi’s strong opposition to expanded gambling would bar legislation from getting past his political domain.
Still, Patrick held out hope. Repeated voter surveys had indicated that a majority of citizens favored the casino plan as a means of both increasing needed state revenue and to cut back on the amount of money Bay Staters were spending at Indian casinos in Connecticut.
But the final tally to kill the bill was a resounding 106-48.
Maybe Patrick should have taken the advice of one wag who suggested that the governor appoint DiMasi a state judge, thus removing a major impediment to his casino plan.
For more on the Massachusetts casino efforts and New England’s gaming sector, see this week’s story, "Connecticut casinos keep competition at Bay" in this week’s GT newspaper.