It turns out that Patrick administration Secretary of Housing & Economic Development Greg Bialecki is not the only big player in the push to bring casinos to MA whose financial portfolio includes interests that stand to benefit if the casino legislation becomes law. Stan Rosenberg, who touts to constituents his status as the gambling guru (p.2) of the State Senate also owns stock in a company that could benefit tremendously if three casinos and a slot parlor are allowed in the Bay State. While Bialecki owned stock in some casinos themselves, Rosenberg, according to his 2010 Statement of Financial Interests disclosure (p.3, courtesy of the excellent Commonwealth Magazine), owns stock in Harris Corp- a major casino vendor.
No doubt, casino boosters will poo-poo this and Rosenberg himself believes that even mentioning the possibility of legislators having a conflict of interest is a threat to democracy. But, Harris Corp is not some random shmoe selling peanuts to casino bars- they are an officially licensed gaming vendor in Nevada– selling extremely sophisticated and specialized (expensive) information/signage technology that is intricate to both the actual gambling side of resort casinos, and the broader entertainment/information side of their operations. To get some idea what their products do, check out this Harris Corp press release:
“Casinos and other slot machine gaming venues are looking for every competitive edge to enhance the customer experience, boost brand loyalty and increase profits,” said Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Broadcast Communications. “With its ability to work in real time and generate high-quality displays, the InfoCaster system offers a unique way for slot machine venues to interface with progressive gaming systems already in place to grab the attention of guests and increase excitement.”
A key component of Harris Digital Signage™ solutions, InfoCaster™ offers a complete suite of systems for creating, scheduling, distributing, playing and reporting live video and graphics. Users can acquire or create digital content and manage it throughout the entire delivery chain — from a central site or multiple remote locations — on a digital signage network.
For more details of what Harris Corp sells to resort casinos look at this pdf “case study” how their systems are integrated into the operations at the Venetian Macao resort casino. Unlike a casino company, Harris could theoretically profit from EACH of the 4 resort or slots licenses that their stockholder Senator Rosenberg is currently negotiating. According to their website, Harris has a vast and worldwide gambling clientele including Foxwoods Resort & Casino, Marina Bay Sands Resort & Casino Singapore, The Venetian Macao, and Capitol Off Track Betting.
Finally, if you look at Senator Rosenberg’s 2009 SFI, you can see that he did not own the Harris stock at that time- meaning he actually bought the casino vendor stock in 2010, by which time he was the State Senate’s “gambling guru” and supposedly an expert on casino economics. If Rosenberg knew he was buying stock in a huge casino vendor, then the process of pursuing casino legislation should be stopped because it has been corrupted by greed. If he didn’t know, it should be stopped because it has been corrupted by ignorance.