One of the more curious aspects of the casino gambling law is that it gives the “host” community an electoral say in whether a class of business will be allowed to operate in a community, as opposed to simply allowing a community to determine an appropriate location for a certain activity within the town. This part of the gambling law recognizes, arguably, a broader impact on a community as a whole and the need for a true approval of the entire operation by those most directly effected by a governmental decision.
So, I guess I’m wondering when we, all of us in the Commonwealth, will get to vote on whether Boston should host the 2024 Olympics. Having lived through the Salt Lake City fiasco, I simply can’t think of anything worse, other than a nice cholera epidemic, then hosting such an event. I don’t think people in this state understand either the fiscal impact, the disruption and other nightmares that accompany such an event. In fact, the primary legacy of the Salt Lake City games has to be the invention of fancy new ways to cook the books to conceal how much of a total nightmare being a host city was.
I’ve been trying to figure out when we get our say over what is, essentially, the largest unfunded mandate imaginable, and no one seems to know how the process works. Does it have to be before the site is chosen? Do we get our say afterwards? Or not at all? The Legislature ought to take action now to clarify that Boston can put together all the snazzy marketing material it wants, but that nothing happens without the chance for the people who will have to pay for it to say no.