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Not A Good Sign In Boston

Published: January 18, 2011 2:35 pm ET

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Deval Patrick, the re-elected governor of Massachusetts, did not send a thrill through backers of track slots Sunday, when he appeared in an interview on WCVB-TV.

He was answering a question about House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s offer to work closer with the governor and Senate president on the gambling issue in the state. That issue “just sucks all the oxygen out of the place and we’ve got a lot of other work to do,” he told his interviewers.

DeLeo, racing’s best friend in the legislature, chose not to mention slots at Plainridge Racecourse in his offer of closer cooperation. But interviewers did, and Governor Patrick told them that while he might compromise slightly on the gambling issue, “What I won’t compromise on is on-bid contracts for racetracks.” He said he just didn’t think that was right, and “that’s precisely the thing I was sent to Beacon Hill to change.”

Janet Wu, interviewing the governor, persisted, saying, “So in other words, one ‘racino,’ that’s it for you.” Patrick responded, “Well, it’s not about one racino. I was willing earlier to compromise on one slot parlour, but -- mind you -- that’s a big step for me. Because I just don’t think we get the jobs and the revenue in that context, particularly relative to the social costs....I’m not going to support a limited number of vested interests being the only ones to do it.”

Any questions? Speaker DeLeo has a long, tough road ahead on slots.

(Harness Tracks of America)


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