This is one of the big issues hitting the state these days so I thought I might weigh in.
It’s all about freedom
In our civil, secular society, the purpose of laws is to ensure that the freedom of individuals is maximized. It is not, in my opinion, to enforce various ideas of what is moral or immoral. As long as the law allows a superset of what your particular moral code is, you have nothing to complain about. If you want to do drugs, engage in wierd sexual fantasies, or gamble, it’s really none of my concern… that is, until you get so wrapped up in the behavior that you start taking away others’ rights to ownership or freedom (for instance, by committing robery or murder, or kidnapping). At that point, your actions have crossed the line, and are illegal. But gambling, in and of itself, is neither a good, nor a bad, it simply is. And as such, it should be legal.
If you think that means that I think there should be casinos in MA, think again. I think they should be allowed to exist, not made to exist through back channel dealings that override the freedom (there’s that word again) of communities to decide whether or not they want one. This is the problem I have with what’s going on in Massachusettes right now.
If you want the truth
Go take a look at CasinoFacts.org. I know the maintainer and primary contributor. He’s a personal friend, and I can vouch for his integrity and honesty. The way that the state, the federal government, and the Wampanoag tribe are trying to force his community to accept a casino is just plain wrong. The town’s board of selectmen entered into an agreement with the tribe without the approval of the citizens of the town. The deal that got the tribe the land on which they want to build has corruption written all over it. There’s even a question as to whether or not the tribe has any ancestral claims to the area (if you look it up, they don’t). The state is seeing dollar signs, but hasn’t really thought out the total cost of ownership.
These attempts by the state and tribe to force a community to accept something they don’t want is tantamount to community rape.
Governor Patrick… are you listening?
Ok. Here’s the way this should play out, at least as far as I’m concerned. Sign a law that allows for the existence of casinos, but requires the approval of any community that abutt the proposed location with a 2/3 majority of the citizens voting to allow the casino. Each community can negotiate whatever deal they want with the tribes (or any other private firm that want’s to make the investment), as can the state.
If someone wants to build a casino, and they can strike a winning deal with all affected parties, then it has my blessing.