Odds Are Good Casinos Are Dead. For Now

1206020350Yesterday afternoon, the bell tolled for Gov. Deval Patrick’s casino proposal. The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies voted 10-to-8 to give the bill a negative recommendation as it heads to the House for a vote. The House has a poor track record at overturning committee recommendations, which means the bill will probably die on the floor today.

Looks like we’ll be driving to Connecticut to sate our gambling urges for the foreseeable future.

Of course, the bill isn’t officially finished yet. It could make like Lazarus and come back from the dead if union pressure proves stronger than the disapproving stare of House Speaker Sal DiMasi. Some politicians are also angry that the vote happened behind closed doors, which could come back to bite DiMasi.

“I would have rather had the committee reconvene in the light of day after a marathon meeting and evaluate our options,” [Sen. Bruce] Tarr said. “. . . I would have liked the process to have been a little bit more democratic.”

But all that is unlikely. Patrick’s casino plan is doomed, but it doesn’t mean gambling in our state will necessarily face the same fate. The Mashpee Wampanoag will continue its pursuit to establish a casino on its land, be it under federal Indian gaming laws or if the state allows casinos. DiMasi has also said he’ll allow a bill to install slot machines at state racetracks to come to a vote, even though similar proposals have failed in the past.

1206020460The best news to come out of all this? Gov. Patrick reveals to the Globe that he can count. Thank God. We were a little worried after that whole “tens of thousands” brouhaha.