A question for Steve Crosby: if we build it, will he come?

In light of the news that MA’s new gambling czar Steve Crosby agreed to address an event sponsored by pro-casino interests, Judy Meredith raises an excellent question:

“Spinning the Wheel: What the Industry Means for the Commonwealth.’’

What if the anti gambling folk organized a conference with the same title that featured some experts with data on how other states have/are handling/benefiting or not from organized gaming.

And Steve agreed to address the group. Separately from any panel of paid organized anti gambling activists of course.

What a fabulous idea.  And Crosby’s comments to the Globe seem consistent with something like this:

He said he accepted the invitation [to address the pro-casino event] because he wants to include casino interests as he starts a broader conversation with the public about how the industry can benefit the state…. “We’ll be talking to lots of people in public settings who have interest in this,” Crosby said, referring to the gambling commission. “That will be the nature of our business.”

So, who’s going to organize this side of the “broader conversation” that Crosby says he wants?  Surely there’s some enterprising anti-gambling folk here with the wherewithal to put on an event that wasn’t just an anti-casino rally (nothing wrong with rallies, but I wouldn’t expect Crosby to show up), but was rather a thoughtful exploration of, say, what we can learn from the experience of other states in terms of avoiding the downsides when casinos come to town, and what host communities can expect.  Maybe Senator Eldridge, who was quoted in the Globe story, would be interested.

Email me offline if you’d prefer.  david at bluemassgroup dot com.

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Discuss

6 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. With all due respect

    a thoughtful exploration of, say, what we can learn from the experience of other states in terms of avoiding the downsides when casinos come to town, and what host communities can expect

    I’m pretty sure us anti-gambling folk already have a pretty good idea of what that is by now. In fact, it’s what we’ve been trying to warn everyone else about for years, and the reason we became ‘anti-gambling folk’ to begin with.

  2. No offense, but the "wherewithal" is lacking and no one pays the anti-casino folks because

    Casino moguls are billionaires for whom dropping $5,000,000 on attack adds (think Sheldon Adelson and Newt Gingrich’s campaign) is just penny change from the change drawer.

    The head of the USS MASS group is a retired social worker, for example. Surely the anti folks must have the “wherewithal” – maybe you were joking. I hope so!

    There are no Malaysian billionaires or billionaire moguls in the anti corner. No one stands to make money out of keeping casinos out, or mitigating the certain harm they will cause. There are not, as far as I know, ANY paid anti casino lobbyists. The more then $10 million spent on lobbyists (so I am told) was all pro-casino. In fact, Jack Abramoff did a video about how casinos come in and own politics and the paid professional lobbying community. This is understandable – lobbyists lobby for the folks that pay the bills. That is how they earn their living, and some of them earn a very good living indeed that way.

    Senator Galvin’s website allows the declared income from qaulifying lobbying activity (not “unqualifying strategizing” though) to be examined.)

    Anyway, here is the link to Abramoff’s video; he should know, he was convicted and served time for lobbying gone bad…all because of that lovely money, mostly from gambling enterprises, I gather (The title of this video is “They will own your state” by the way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqrLDGK3U90&feature=youtu.be

  3. Why is whether or not the anti- folks are paid relevant?

    Seems to me an anti- coalition of groups like Stop Predatory Gambling and United to Stop Slots can put together an event with panelists and invite Mr. Crosby at minimal cost.

    • Agreed -

      the reference to “paid” anti-casino organizers isn’t at all relevant to whether assembling an event is a good idea.

    • You are right Christopher

      Steve Crosby has made it clear he will not serve on a panel of “paid” lobbyists representing casino developers at this event as originally planned.

      I have no idea if there are any individuals who are “paid lobbyists” i.e. engaged in more than “incidental” lobbying, (Lobbying as part of a larger job description (executive director of an organization for example) and do it for more than 25 hours in a six-month reporting period (January through June, or July through December) or get paid more than $2,500 during that six-month period for the time spent lobbying.

  4. Tom Larkin, President, USS-MASS

    Stephen Crosby’s involvement with the Gambling Industry’s Conference next week at the Westin-Boston Waterfront Hotel, titled “What the Industry Means for the Commonwealth” will cost you $85 a person to attend.
    It so happens that United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts (USS-MASS) has scheduled its Annual Re-Organization Conference for Saturday, January 28th, from 12 noon to 3pm at the First Parish Church on Bedford Common. We will be electing new Board members and Officers. The Conference is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.
    The Conference will be setting USS-MASS 2012 goals and organizing educational programs.
    Motivated by recent BMG comments from Judy-Meredith, Gladys-Kravitz, Amberpaw and others, the USS-MASS Conference will certainly discuss organizing a Teach-In Conference sometime this Spring featuring “lessons learned” from the expansion of gambling to the Class III level (Slot Machines) in other states.
    Walk in participation is welcome but an RSVP to ussmass@mail.com will help us with our planning for our conference.
    Tom Larkin

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