|In America, a leading anti-casino strategist has joined the fight against a plan by the Governor of the eastern state of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, to open three resort casinos while also banning online gambling.|
Dennis Bailey has been hired by the Massachusetts Council of Churches to help defeat Patrick's bill and joins other gambling opponents led by Economic Development Committee Chairman Representative Daniel Bosley and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association and the Massachusetts League of Women Voters now operating as a pressure group called Casino Free Mass.
Recent poll numbers show the debate split straight down the middle and Bailey believes that this close race will swing to reject Patrick’s proposal if the voting public can be properly engaged and fully informed with public forums and online and direct mail appeals.
“Those poll numbers are not daunting at all,” said Bailey.
“That shows Massachusetts is pretty much split on this issue.”
Bailey is widely credited with defeating legislation proposing casinos in Maine including a proposal for a giant casino in the state’s southern tier in Sanford. For that effort, he utilised police officers and town officials from Connecticut providing first-hand accounts on the problems casinos have created in that state.
The anti-gambling groups face a formidable pro-casino machine in the political power of the Governor and the weight of the unions. Governor Patrick claims that accepting his proposal for three resort-casinos would bring two billion dollars in state tax revenues annually and create 20,000 permanent jobs and thousands of temporary construction jobs.
Eyeing the promise of such labour largesse, unions are supporting the Governor and applying increased pressure on the State’s Legislature with Robert Haynes, President of the 400,000-member branch of the state’s American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organisation (AFL-CIO), announcing that the organisation would lobby lawmakers to support the proposal.