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Gambling Expansion In Massachusetts Includes Addiction Fund

The state of Massachusetts is one of the last to get into the casino gambling industry, but being late sometimes has its advantages. One of the advantages Massachusetts lawmakers had at their disposal was the ability to research what has, and has not, worked in other states.

The one area where many states have failed over the years as they expand into the casino gaming industry is prevention and treatment programs for gambling addicts. Problem gambling is one of the downfalls of gambling expansion that anti-gaming lawmakers have used to keep bills from passing around the country.

Massachusetts has taken into account the possibility that addiction could become a problem, and they have attacked the issue aggressively. Included in the new bill that the House has already passed, are safeguards that go above and beyond what any other state has done in terms of combating problem gambling.

The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling has applauded the length the new legislation goes to in order to protect Massachusetts residents against addiction. The bill includes an estimated $25 million annually that will go towards research, treatment, and prevention programs.

"We're taking gambling addiction extremely seriously and to a whole new level," said state Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg, as reported by the Boston Globe. Sen. Rosenberg is one of the main supporters of the gambling expansion legislation in Massachusetts.

Governor Deval Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray have all been working on the gambling bill for several months, and all three have stated their intentions to ensure that the proper safeguards were in place when bringing new casino resorts to the state. The bill that is expected to go to a vote in the Senate next week, would add three casino resorts in Massachusetts, and also allow for an additional slots license.

Five percent of the state's tax revenue from the new gaming facilities would go towards the problem gambling fund. The fund would also receive $5 million a year from the casinos that win the gaming licenses. The problem gambling fund's cut of the tax revenue is currently estimated at around $20 million a year, far more than other states are devoting to this type of prevention.

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