Here in the Berkshires, watching the state's casino gambling drama unfold is akin to watching a multiple car wreck from a safe distance. This is one instance when the region being left out of state's affairs works to its advantage.
Five gubernatorial candidates have called upon Stephen P. Crosby, the chairman of the five-member Massachusetts Gaming [read Gambling] Commission, to resign in the wake of his decision to remove himself from the debate about licensing a Boston-area casino. His recusal came in the wake of the firestorm created by his appearance at a lavish private party at Suffolk Downs, a potential casino location. Mr. Crosby said he was showing support for the racing industry, but his job is to regulate it, not serve as a booster.
Caesar's Entertainment, which had pursued a Boston-area casino, is suing Mr. Crosby because the commission chairman had once been a business partner of the co-owner of the land in Everett where Wynn Resorts wants to build a casino. His removal from the Boston debate means that a 2-2 vote on the awarding of a license is possible, and with no provision in place for a tie, more lawsuits would fly.
It was also learned last week that State Supreme Court Justice Robert Cordy, who caustically questioned casino foes who are attempting to put a question repealing the state casino law on the ballot in Nov-
ember, was once a lawyer representing Suffolk Downs. As John Ribeiro, chairman of the repeal campaign, told the Boston Globe, the judge's past connection serves as a "reminder of the deep tentacles of this industry." Money and power are indeed often entwined, and in the case of the casino industry's emergence in Mass-
achusetts, little good is likely to come of it for the citizens of the state.