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“Casino Whispers” Silenced

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

There appears to be a new casualty in the war over the sole casino license to be awarded in Western Mass.

CasinoWhispers.com, the anonymous website that’s been tracking the casino issue for the past several months, vanished into thin cyber air late last month. (At deadline, when disappointed fans of the site typed the URL into their browsers, they were led to a GoDaddy ad offering the domain name for sale.)

CasinoWhispers’ disappearance is bad news for anyone interested in following the back-channel gossip and intrigue surrounding the fierce casino battle. While the website’s speculations sometimes overstepped its reporting—for instance, suggesting but not proving wrong-doing on the part of some of the players involved in the various casino schemes—it was nonetheless a valuable resource for information and analysis, one rooted in understanding of the people and the politics involved in the high-stakes casino issue. And its alternative voice was especially welcome in light of the fact that the Springfield Republican, the only daily newspaper in Hampden County, has a financial stake in one of the casino projects proposed in that city—a conflict of interest that the Republican does not consistently disclose in its casino reporting and that casts a cloud over the purported impartiality of its coverage.

If CasinoWhispers’ perspective on the behind-the-scenes maneuvers, as well as the anonymity of its creator or creators, was tantalizing to general readers, it was simply maddening to connected players eager to unmask the person or people behind the site. Given the mystery that surrounded the website, it’s hard not to imagine equally intriguing circumstances surrounding its disappearance. Was any pressure exerted on the site’s creator to shut it down? Could there be a connection to the interest the FBI has taken in the casino issue in Springfield, as recently reported by the Republican’s Stephanie Barry?•

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