Debating Smoke-Filled Rooms In Smoke-Filled Rooms

Published June 30, 2010

I smell compromise in the air. Or maybe it’s smoke.

Senate President Therese Murray said the Groundhog Day-style debate (my analogy) on casino gaming will extend into the Fourth of July weekend if lawmakers can’t agree. They’ve used parliamentary procedures to delay debate five times this week. Now, surely no one wants to be cooped up in the State House this Saturday.

They ban it in Atlantic City. (AP)

They ban it in Atlantic City. (AP)

It’s fortuitous timing that House Speaker Robert DeLeo — who first introduced the expanded gambling bill — is our guest today on Radio Boston. He’ll be taking your calls and comments live in the studio at 3.

One of the sticking points is a proposed ban on smoking inside casinos. Some Democrats had tried to overturn the ban; Sen. Steven Panagiotakos said it would cost the state $94 million in lost revenue. Sen. Susan Fargo, a casino critic, saw his $94 million in lost revenue and raised $6 billion in lost productivity from smoking illness, according to a recent state report.

I have no opinion, because I’m a journalist and journalists are robots without feelings (like Supreme Court justice nominees). But doesn’t it seem to make sense to allow one vice if you’re going to allow another? I don’t smoke, and I don’t really gamble, either, and I don’t think either is “good for you.” Anyway, what do you think? I know, a lot of you don’t support casinos, period. But it appears all but certain that casinos in Mass. are a reality.