Big Shots Coming to Beacon Hill
It was with great sorrow that I reported to you last week that Donald Trump declined his invitation to a Dec. 18 State House hearing on revenue. (Oh, to have seen that circus.) But take heart, the third richest man in the country and the CEO of the world’s largest gambling company will be there in his stead. And they might just have more interesting things to say.
The hearing, arranged by Rep. David Flynn, is expected to focus largely on the money-making potential of casinos. I just spoke to Flynn, who confirmed that Sheldon Adelson, reportedly the richest man in America not named Buffett or Gates, and the head of the Sands casino empire, would be at the hearing.
Flynn added that, just 10 minutes earlier, he got official word from the people at Harrah’s that their bossman Gary Loveman would also be making the trip to Boston next week.
Both men have deep local connections—Adelson was born in Dorchester and still has a home in Newton while Loveman is a former Harvard Business School professor—and both men would like very much to open a casino here in the state. That combination should make for some interesting comments next week.
Indeed, after a meeting with Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi last summer, Adelson was quoted in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette saying, “I care more about what happens in Massachusetts with all my family here. I told the speaker and I’d tell the governor, I put on two hats. One is my resident hat. My other is my commercial hat. They are two different things.”
Flynn, who may or may not have been wearing a hat when I talked to him, was pleased to hear both Adelson and Loveman will be making it.
“I think it was very important,” he said. “I think it will be a successful hearing as long as I don’t let it degenerate into the atmosphere of a clubhouse, and I won’t allow that, nor will my co-chair.”
The two gaming giants will add a dose of star power to the day’s affairs. That’s good news for casino supporters, who’d prefer the casino spotlight shine brightest on discussions over potential revenue, not those nettlesome social issues other legislators have held hearings on.
A host of Patrick cabinet members have also confirmed their attendance, as have the heads of Plainridge Racecourse, Raynham Park, Wonderland and Suffolk Downs. Convincing the hyper-competitive track owners—who have long had a reputation as something of a circular firing squad—to sit down together was no small feat. Nevertheless, it’s Adelson and Loveman who’ll be the marquee attractions.