Mayor Walsh has a weak hand with the state gaming commission, but at least he’s playing it as aggressively as he can. The state gambling law, which Walsh supported as a state representative in 2011, gives cities little power to stop casinos outside their geographic borders. So even though the two proposed Greater Boston-area casinos — one in Everett, the other in Revere — sit on Boston’s doorstep and would clog the city’s bridges and highways, it looks unlikely that Boston will qualify as a “host community” under the legislation’s narrow definition. But the mayor still has some tools to defend the city’s interests, and he’s right to use them.
Since Walsh took office in January, the city’s first line of attack has been to claim that, in fact, Boston counts as a host community for both sites. Both rely on Boston’s airport. Further, Boston’s lawyers say the gaming commission has no authority to rule the city lacks host status. And, while arguing there’s nothing for the commission to decide, Walsh also wants Gaming Commission chair Steve Crosby to recuse himself from any decision, arguing that he’s biased against the city. It’s a kitchen-sink strategy, with the city throwing out tactics and hoping that one will stick.