No Public Participation, No Problem!

Well, well, well: some “exciting” news as the Globe recently reported that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission will award a license for the state’s first casino by February 26, 2014.

As required by law, a number of public hearings have recently been held. These hearings help to solicit input on the first phase of regulations designed to pre-qualify the Big Spenders who want to throw their money in the ring to create the next big casino in Massachusetts.

Shocking as it may seem, almost no one showed up at these meetings. Apparently, at the public forum in Brockton no one showed up at all. Yikes. The recent meeting in Springfield also was lightly attended, and the lawyer for Mohegan Sun gently requested more privacy for casino applicants. Barely anyone asked questions during the proceedings.

All of this begs a few questions: How much the general (sometimes) voting public of Massachusetts cares about this issue? There’s a tremendous amount of money involved surrounding casino gambling in Massachusetts. The act establishing casino-style gambling signed by Governor Patrick requires that any developer must commit at least $500 million as a capital investment into said project.

Think of what $500 million might mean in Springfield, New Bedford, or any other part of the state. That’s a massive windfall and it begs the question: What will become of these monies? And perhaps most importantly: What will the public input be during this long, involved process?