East Boston residents will have the option to vote on the construction of a new casino on Nov. 5. While Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo hail the economic advantages of a casino in Boston, several activist groups are campaigning against its construction. What will happen to Eastie?
With a casino comes ample opportunity for Boston residents to gamble and drink. Celeste Meyers, a 42-year-old secretary in Boston, is now the spearhead and lead campaigner for No Eastie Casino, a key non-profit organization opposed to its construction, according to Bloomberg Businessweek on Monday. She aims to stop its construction because it will lead to gambling and drinking addictions in an area where insufficient money is always an issue. Although her points are completely valid, it’s tough to think that the casino will be a deciding factor in increasing addictions and crime in Eastie.
The actual construction will introduce plenty of jobs to the area, and once it’s complete, residents close by can find even more jobs inside. Because Eastie is so close to the airport, travelers with nothing to do over a layover or during an overnight stay will spend more money in Boston.
If city officials can find a replacement for Caesars Entertainment to fill the building, the resort can possibly draw in $1 billion in annual revenue, according to a Sept. 19 Boston Globe article. Of that revenue, the City of Boston and Revere will receive $32 million a year, along with an escalating share of the casino’s gambling profits. The economic benefit of the casino is inarguable. The thing is, though, not all Eastie residents are able to vote on the issue.
Half of Eastie residents will not be eligible to vote on the casino because they are not legal citizens yet, according to a Saturday Boston Globe story. The Boston City Council approved a referendum that will only give Eastie residents the opportunity to vote, but if half of the people that will be affected by the casino don’t have an actual say in the issue, how will the election be fair? The numbers Nov. 5 should be very, very close, especially because voter turnout on the issue has the potential to be very low.
The benefits and downfalls associated with a casino are like the flip of a coin. Nobody can realistically predict the repercussions of its construction. It’s up to the small number of voters now: will a casino harm or help the community?