On Tuesday, following the Monday election of two anti-casino candidates to the Foxborough Board of Selectmen, casino operator Steve Wynn and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced that they would abandon their plan to build a casino across the street from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Sadly, it will certainly turn up somewhere else.
Casino magnates and owners of NFL teams probably have much in common, besides lots of money, but one other thing they share is a competitive streak.
So it seemed curious that the results of Monday’s election tipping the balance on the Foxborough Board of Selectmen away from casino consideration should have provoked white flags from both the Wynn and Kraft camps.
But apparently that’s what happened.
The statement issued by the Kraft Group read: “We believe the citizens of Foxborough have spoken. We have heard and respect their collective voice.” Wynn Resorts issued a similar surrender, indicating the company’s intention to respect “the community’s will.”
Abandoned were the promises to erect a billion-dollar house of cards, as well as colorful wheels, spinning fruit and various other attractions designed to separate customers from their money, a palace of pleasure — until you tap out — that would mysteriously not impinge on the community’s surrounding forests, glades and glens.
The promise of a Kraft legacy as brave and permanent as the colossal shopping mall across the street from the proposed chapel of chance vanished like Xanadu when Coleridge woke up.
Which means the casino will rise from the dust and dung of Suffolk Downs instead, or on some other lot. Wherever it appears, that casino will be hailed by those who favor it for providing jobs and increasing revenue without raising or creating new taxes. It will be attacked by others for effectively taxing citizens dumb or sick enough to think they can beat the odds that have always made casino ownership as dandy a dodge as the possession of a franchise in the National Football League, or possibly a better take, since the former comes without the potential qualms of conscience connected with owning a business that’s destroying many of its employees, rather than some small number of its customers.
In the run-up to a November election even more significant that the recent contest in Foxborough, there has been considerable discussion of the gap between those who have garages with multiple elevators and those who would happily trade their accommodations for a garage — even one without an elevator. There has been much less talk about how casinos further enrich the former class and further impoverish the latter, but that is what they do.
The majority of people who voted in Foxborough can rejoice. The next engine to enhance some corporation of winners at the expense of those with less and less to lose won’t be in their backyard. Sadly, it will certainly emerge somewhere else.