Sen. Rosenberg to Sec. Bialecki: I’ll See Your Casino Stock and Raise You My Casino Vendor Stock

This stinks to high heaven. Many thanks to scout for digging it out. Personally, I'm not unalterably opposed to casinos, though I think three is too many and slot barns are lousy. But at this point, I think Governor Patrick should veto whatever the legislature sends him, not necessarily because it's a bad bill (though it probably will be), but because he needs to send a message that even the appearance of conflicts of interest and corruption (much less the real thing) will not be tolerated in bringing casino gambling to Massachusetts. - promoted by david

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.



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4 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. This is absolutely, positively outrageous.

    If a corporate type did this, it would be INSIDER TRADING. The SEC would be all over their butts. Martha Stewart went to prison for less — this was actual legislative manipulation that could result in huge profits for him.

    The Governor *must* promise to veto this legislation, particularly given Bialecki’s similar misconduct, and Rosenberg should resign. Morally, this isn’t all that different from taking a bribe — a politician using his legislative power to grow his own wealth!

    Furthermore, we immediately need to pass a law in this state that demands of any elected politician that they must abstain (or not vote) on any bill that they could directly profit from, if we don’t have such a bill already. This is basic safe-guarding of our democracy, for heaven’s sake.

    RyansTake   @   Mon 14 Nov 6:12 PM
    • This is absolutely, positively outrageous.!

      Ryan, sometimes I think your comments are a little — shall we say -(oh my G_D what can I say that will not be sexist, racist bigoted and other wise politically incorrect?) let me try hysterical, but not this time my friend.

      I am so disappointed in my friend Stan Rosenberg.

  2. Pollution alert!

    It appears that the gambling kool-aid has in fact been a highly addictive aphrodisiac for the inglorious basterds at the state house.

    The only explanation, beside straight out corruption, for otherwise sane and intelligent human beings to push legalizing expanded gambling, while betraying democracy, is that they are addicted and will go to any length like a junkie jonesing to get his/her fix.

    Didn’t they read the ethics reform legislation that they wrote either?

  3. interesting, Rosenberg didn't vote on bill yesterday

    Casino Roll Call Vote (boston.com)

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