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Massachusetts Panel Focusing On Casino Creation

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission was only formed earlier this year by Governor Deval Patrick, and already the time is ticking on when the panel will take over the oversight responsibilities for horse racing and other forms of legalized gambling in the state.

The date that lawmaker had set for the Commission to assume regulatory responsibilities is May 20th, but it now appears that deadline will not be met. Members of the panel have indicated that their sole focus right now is to ensure that casino resorts are opened in Massachusetts in the quickest way possible, and that may mean giving less attention to other forms of gambling.

"We don't think postponing this (deadline) hurts anyone," said Commission Chairman Steven Crosby, who also believes local municipalities need the commission's help. "They are really at seas at how to handle this stuff. This area is going to get bigger and more complicated."

The commission's first task is deciding where to allow casinos, and how many to permit. The commission has the authority under the newly created law to authorize up to three casinos. Governor Patrick would like to see the panel approve licenses for all three gaming facilities this year.

Governor Patrick has been pushing casino resorts as the top issue on his agenda since he took office several years ago. The governor's first few attempts failed, as lawmakers in the House blocked the casino expansion. Earlier this year, Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray came to an agreement on gambling expansion, and the bill passed the Legislature.

Massachusetts is in a battle with other Northeastern states to get casinos up and running. Their main competition in the future may be New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo also has a pro-gaming expansion agenda. With all of the expansion that has taken place in recent years, states are rushing to get into the multi-billion dollar casino industry.

Pennsylvania has become the most successful state on the East Coast when it comes to gambling expansion. Over the past year, Pennsylvania casinos have added table games to their offering, and the state has surpassed New Jersey as the second largest gaming revenue state in the US, behind only Nevada.

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