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Slots shouldn't be just at racetracks

By G. Michael Dobbs
Managing Editor
There are several issues on my mind this week and the first thing I need to do is to write a note to Gov. Deval Patrick.
Dear Gov. Patrick:
As I write this on Aug. 4, I want to congratulate you on sticking to your guns over the issue of the inclusion of a sweetheart deal for the racetracks. I agree with you if there are to be slot machine-only gambling areas, those opportunities should be open to businesses through a licensing and bidding process, rather than a wink and nudge.
I also agree with you that slot parlors are not particularly appealing in terms of job development or creating additional tourism. Frankly, I sit in front a machine for a good chunk of my day and I don't find sitting in front of a slot machine a load of laughs, but that's just me.
You see, I think if the Commonwealth is going to licensing out slot machines to any business other a destination casino, I think we need to go into another direction.
I think the state should allow slot machines in the same way we determine the number of liquor licenses in communities and that bars and restaurants that already are state lottery agents with Keno should have the right to apply to have a couple of one-armed bandits.
I don't think there is a lick of difference between gambling through a Keno game and a slot machine. Gambling is gambling and this way many small businesses could benefit from it. The profit from the slots would be divided between the state and the business.
Just like liquor licenses are initially approved and regulated by the municipality, the slot machines could follow a similar process.
Radical? Perhaps. But instead of concentrating all of the potential earning power in a handful of entities and all those proposed are in the Boston area why not spread that money around to the small businesses currently in partnership with the state lottery?
Let me know what you think.
Respectfully.
G. Michael Dobbs
***

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept that the Legislature could not be called back into an emergency session to pass an amended casino bill. So on one hand, the governor's actions imperil thousands of potential jobs, but the Legislature's actions do not?
If the Legislature leadership hadn't had its collective head in a bucket of mud for years, I could be spending my roll of quarters by now and sipping on an adult beverage. Think about it. This debate has been going on for years. If the folks in the General Court were so committed to the idea casinos would bring needed jobs, why has it taken so long for them to take action?
***

Thank all that's holy the long wait is over for residents of Holyoke and they can move forward on the High Performance Computing Center.
Gov. Patrick finally made the announcement of the site on Monday.
One thing interested me though, a completely random thought as I stood at the press conference : why do print and radio journalists sweat in the hot sun, but elected officials, in suits no less, and television reporters don't?
There must be a secret that isn't shared in writing classes at college for us old school reporters about staying cool in the heat.
I would have died if I had to wear a suit that day, but Patrick didn't even glisten and neither did any of the TV people -- not even the guy wearing make-up.
***

Random questions for which I need answers:
If Axe really can control women as the commercials for the men's fragrance products claim, shouldn't it be illegal?
Is the subject of Lady Gaga posing nude for Vanity Fair really a subject worthy of analysis by once-time comic Dennis Miller on Bill O"Reilly's show? Is this hard-hitting television?
Did California officials know before they sent Lindsay Lohan to the can for 90 days that over-crowding would compel her early release to a hospital? Did they really just want to contribute to the Lohan publicity machine?
This column represents the opinions of its author. Please mail all letters to the editor to Reminder Publications Inc., 280 North Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028 or e-mail news@thereminder.com.


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