Curran: For Krafts, why is a casino worth the gamble?

Curran: For Krafts, why is a casino worth the gamble?
December 2, 2011, 2:47 pm
Share This Post

FOXBORO -- Maybe Robert Kraft and Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn can round up enough Foxboro supportand get the OK to put a gambling emporium across the street from Gillette. And maybe the language of the deal and all the winks, nods and nudges convince the NFL to say with a straight face that Kraft and the Patriots don't have a stake in a gambling operation even if it's pretty plain they do. If that all comes to pass, good for the Krafts, I guess. But why do it in the first place?
To me, it would feel like Kraft was mortgaging his legacy and reputation just for the chance to build a Route 1 Empire. In the past decade, Robert Kraft earned his place as one of the most respected and beloved NFL owners. The model franchise he bought and built, the beautiful facility he financed, the leadership he gave during the NFL's growth period, his leadership in brokering labor peace -- no owner has done more. He may wind up in the Hall of Fame. And, just as important, he's the most revered local owner of my lifetime (Walter Brown was pretty loved too but I'm not quite that old). But if he asks the NFL and his fellow owners to let him have his way, he'll be using his reputation and stature as currency to buy their approval. And that just doesn't feel right. Look at it this way. I drive up Route 1 in 2018 and turn left into Wynn's casino instead of turning right into Kraft's NFL stadium. I pay to park and then play a 10 hand of blackjack which I (surprise!) lose. The cash I spent goes to the casino. Which has to pay The Kraft Group its monthly rent for the land it's leasing. How can that be spun as an NFL owner not having a financial stake in a gambling operation? I have nothing against gambling, casinos or fun. If they build it, I will go. But in the coming months, as The Kraft Grouptries make a case that an NFL team isn't marrying up with casino gambling, I'm not going to buy into whatever pretzel logic is put forth. The Krafts are unbelievably innovative and forward-thinking. And when it comes to business, they see the big picture clearly. But are they blind to the fact that people don't like to be played for fools? Who's kidding who? The reputation and respect the Krafts have was hard-earned and well-deserved. Not sure I see the upside in trying to trade on that. Just because you might be able to do something, doesn't mean you should.