Ante Up? Controversy, Confusion and Protests For Casino Plan

roulette.jpgWill he won’t he? That’s the question for Deval Patrick, who is expected to announce soon whether he’ll endorse casino gambling in Massachusetts. Today’s high-profile meeting between the Regional Task Force on Casino Impacts and state secretary of housing and economic development Daniel O’Connell has everyone guessing what the Governor’s position will be.

Nobody seems to know what O’Connell’s opinion of casino gambling is, either. The Herald reported this morning that while O’Connell was once considered a “sure bet” to endorse casino gambling, he’s recently questioned the economic impact of a casino in areas other than Middleborough. How many? Try eight. Adding to the uncertainty is it remains unclear just how much influence O’Connell will actually have on Patrick.

Despite the controversy surrounding tribal Chairman Glenn Marshall, The Wampanoag tribe continues to make preparations to build a casino by beginning to put its new land in Middleborough into a federal trust, a move which some voters protested outside today’s meeting.

“Who would want a casino in their town?” asked Jacqueline Tolosko, a Middleboro mom who wore a T-shirt during the protest against the construction of a Native American-run casino in Middleboro. “It’s going to destroy our town and its rural character.”

Apparently 2,387 people actually do would want a casino in their town, though left unsaid is if people who don’t live in Middleborough want a casino anywhere near them.