A State House Hearing and Seminoles Behaving Badly

A couple quick hits for you this morning on casinos:

First, Representative David Flynn of Bridgewater, House Dean and Chair of the Joint Committee on Bonding Capital Expenditures and State Assets (say that ten times fast), has scheduled a hearing for December 13 to study a host of revenue matters, but most prominently the potential economic impact of casinos on the state.

“The focus of the whole hearing will be projection of revenue,” Flynn says. “The main thing is, I think it recent years, Massachusetts has been all anchor and no sail and I think it’s time to get the show on the road one way or the other.”

If Flynn has his druthers, the way to get this show sailing on the road (hey, that’s what happens when you mix cliches) would be casinos. He represents Raynham—home of the Raynham Park dog track—and is a long time supporter of expanded gaming. Unsurprisingly, then, Flynn says unions, race track representatives, developers, and administration reps will all be invited to speak at the hearing.

In the wake of last month’s slapped together, and politically motivated, hearing on the social ills associated with expanded gaming, pro-casino Representative Brian Wallace of South Boston told us that we could expect plenty of hearings designed to shine a favorable light on Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposal. This one’s the first. Stay tuned.

On a second, somewhat related note, anybody predisposed to believe that casinos inevitably lead to rampant corruption would be well advised to check out the South Florida Sun Sentinel‘s excellent series this week on the Seminole Indian tribe and their casino operation. Mainly, because the newspaper’s reports confirm their worst fears.

The series, which concludes today, charts in painstaking detail how Seminole tribal leadership has done everything from steal from their own people, corrupt tribal elections, kick back fat contracts to themselves, and even scam FEMA. OK, anyone could scam FEMA, but the rest of this is pretty jaw-dropping.