The casino sweepstakes has been turned upside down by the Robert Kraft/Steven Wynn decision to pull out of the competition in Foxboro.
The overwhelming rejection in Monday balloting of selectman candidates open to casino development in Foxboro sent out a message loud and clear to casino developer Wynn and his local partner, Patriots owner Kraft.
That message, rather loud and clear, is that the voters of Foxboro are not interested in a casino in their town.
So Wynn and Kraft agreed. They examined their position. They decided to take the folks of Foxboro at their word and to withdraw.
For East Boston leaders, and for Revere leaders as well, most of whom favor casino development here at Suffolk Downs, the vote in Foxboro was akin to a referendum.
The difference between attitudes in East Boston/Revere and in Foxboro are the difference between solidarity and divisiveness.
Most people favoring a casino at Suffolk Downs believe that such a development will have a largely positive impact on the local economy. There are those who oppose the casino development movement here but that opposition does not compare to the opposition in Foxboro.
Foxboro residents – it is a small town, about 16,000 in population – were united, and Monday’s vote proved that.
When all the votes were counted in Foxboro, Suffolk Downs appeared much more likely to secure a casino license when all is said and done.
But all is not said and done even though the Wynn/Kraft team took a knock-out punch square on the chin.
Anything can happen in this bidding sweepstakes.
The Wynn/Kraft group is formidable and so there is generally no giving up with those people. Perhaps they will try another location. Perhaps not.
The voting in Foxboro may be perceived as a victory for the Suffolk Downs group but you won’t find those people celebrating. Instead, you will find them carrying on, moving forward and strategizing about how best to get the job done.
“Our focus remains working with our neighbors in East Boston and Revere to ensure our proposed development delivers jobs, road improvements and other economic benefits,” said Suffolk Downs Chief Executive Officer Chip Tuttle.
Securing a license for a casino at Suffolk Downs is just more of the same for the Suffolk Downs Group. That is, hard work, direct and unambiguous interplay with host city leaders and residents, and a plan to engage every step of the way.
The clear difference between the effort in Foxboro and the effort here is that the Suffolk Downs people know that you can’t buy the hearts and minds or Revere/Eastie residents with a heavy handed public relations effort.
They can show and have shown residents over a very long period of time who they are by doing the right thing and by keeping their eye on the prize.
They also understand, as we believe the people of East Boston and Revere understand, that a casino at Suffolk Downs is more about economic opportunity and recovery and jobs than anything else to come our way in a long, long time.