The expanded gaming bill is not dead, yet.
There is the chance the legislation could come back to full blown life if the legislature is brought back into session, and soon.
That is a possibility because the state is set to receive $675 million in federal funding that would require the legislature to assign how it is spent.
The governor has artfully struck from that bill awarding the money the ability of the legislature to spend the money.
Obviously, both houses will want to come back, and soon, to override the governor’s action – so they can spend the money and be credited for it rather than him.
So now its up to the legislature to either commit political suicide by not coming back into session or to come back into session and while they’re at it, to once again take-up the gaming bill and to pass it.
Whether or not this scenario plays out is anyone’s guess.
One of the great oddities in this continuing story is that as the expanded gambling looked more dead than ever, more and more people close to the issue came to believe it might ultimately be passed in the end.
The owners of Suffolk Downs, who are the de facto owners of Wonderland, are holding off on layoffs or closures or radical changes in their business model – for the moment.
The owners of Suffolk Downs would like to bid on a casino license only.
Suffolk Downs is not interested in slots.
Slots are the rub.
Wonderland, owned by Suffolk Downs, is not interested in slots, either.
What has been proven by this up and down process?
That doing business with government – or with government trying to do business – it is a long and involved process that features personalities more than business expertise.
In the end, such a long and convoluted process has led to the ultimate impasse, with the legislature stalled, with the governor stalled, with the interests of private businesspeople willing to invest as much as $1 billion, stalled.
Whether or not the expanded gaming bill lives or dies now rests on politicians coming together or remaining at odds.
If it fails, and it might, there will be no torchlight parades with tens of thousands converging at the gates to the state house all chanting for casinos and slots.
It is not the kind of issue that inspires people that way.
If the bill passes, it will be a shot in the arm to the local economy of epic proportion if Suffolk Downs was granted a casino license.
Without this economic stimulus, we wonder rightfully, what might fill the gap?
Frankly, we are left to wonder about that.