DeLeo is the Key – Will the speaker favor casino legislation or scaled-down slot machine measure?

There is a countdown of sorts going on with the gambling initiative the House and the Senate will offer to the governor.

It is believed a gambling bill offering two or three casinos will be the outcome of all the discussion and debate – and that job creation above all will dominate the strategy as the legislature tries to figure out a way to create new revenue streams and to employ more Massachusetts residents.

With Mayor Thomas Menino already believed to have given his OK for a casino at Suffolk Downs, all that is left is for the Senate and the House to concur.

Unless we have it wrong, the Senate is more likely to go along with the mayor than the House Speaker, who remains somewhere between slot machines or nothing for the state’s racing tracks.

The speaker’s dilemma is that slots for the racing tracks will not produce jobs, capital investment, potentially hearty new tax revenue streams and a bunch of other positive economic benefits for everyone involved.

Destination casinos with restaurants, commercial stores and with entertainment are the way to go.

An urban casino at Suffolk Downs will produce more than 2,500 jobs, millions in new tax revenues, will put to work hundred upon hundreds of local construction workers who are out of work. The new casino will allow the city to make road improvements and other such improvements, which have been needed for 50 years in the immediate area.

Also, a casino at Suffolk Downs instead of slot machines, will build a potentially powerful stream of revenue that will allow the owners to provide for local communities impacted by their proximity to the casino.

Slot machines without table games at Suffolk Downs are a loser for the project.

Like everyone in politics these days, Speaker DeLeo needs a solid victory. His rank and file representatives need a solid victory.

Gambling isn’t panacea. But gambling revenues and licensing fees worth hundreds of millions come awfully close in the down time.

We believe an urban casino at Suffolk Downs will be an important economic stimulus to the entire area.

Speaker DeLeo needs to up the ante a bit.

Slots won’t do much of anything except to attract a small hoard of men and women addicted to slot machines, which is like being addicted to the Lottery.

A casino at Suffolk Downs attracts capital and investment, creates jobs and hope – and gambling is one of a dozen money making and tax generating components.

We urge Speaker DeLeo to look at the bigger picture.

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