On Springfield

Where Have You Gone, Casino Whisperer?

CasinoWhispers.com, the anonymous website that’s been tracking all things casino related for the past several months, seems to be missing in action.

Sometime late last week, as far as I can tell, the website disappeared. (Go there now and you’ll find a GoDaddy ad asking if you want to buy the domain name or build your own casinowhispers.com website.)

This is not good news for anyone interested in following the back-channel gossip and intrigue surrounding the rather fierce battle for the sole Western Mass. casino license—especially given that the only daily newspaper in Hampden County has a financial stake in one of the casino projects proposed in Springfield, which makes it pretty darn hard to read its reporting on the issue as pure and impartial.

Granted, CasinoWhispers had the sort of limitations, news-reporting-wise, that one might expect from a website whose author (or authors?) deliberately hid his or her identity—namely, a tendency to making rather bold speculations without the sort of supporting evidence that a journalist with a byline (and scrupulous editors) could make. Nonetheless, it was a great resource for information and analysis; the Casino Whisperer clearly knows the relevant players and political context of the casino fight and did a great job connecting lots of the dots. The site was also a reliably fun and juicy read. And boy, am I kicking myself for not saving some of the information on the site while I had a chance.

So what, exactly, has happened to CasinoWhispers? There could, of course, be a mundane explanation; perhaps the Casino Whisperer just forgot to pay his or her ISP bill, or got bored with the project. But neither of those seems a likely answer; the CW was too dedicated a correspondent to imagine that he or she would forget to pay the bill, much less lose interest in the project.

Besides, given the air of deep mystery surrounding the website, it seems only fitting that there be a more intriguing explanation for its disappearance. Did someone put the lean on the CW? Could there be any connection to the interest the FBI has taken in the casino issue in Springfield, as recently reported by the Republican’s Stephanie Barry? Do we need to worry about the CW’s well being? Is a media diet heavy on cable-network dramas causing me to get carried away?

Casino Whisperer, where are you?

© 2014 The Valley Advocate