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Patrick Names Crosby Chair Of Gaming Commission IN Massachusetts

Lawmakers approved gambling expansion in Massachusetts less than a month ago, but Governor Deval Patrick has moved quickly in appointing a Chairman of the newly created Gaming Commission. Patrick has waited four years for casino resorts to become a reality, and once the law was in place, has has moved quickly towards the gaming era.

On Tuesday, Patrick named Steve Crosby the Chairman of the Gaming Commission. Crosby has a broad knowledge of the political arena in Massachusetts, having served as a top aide to the two previous governor's in the state. The new job will pay Crosby upwards of $150,000 a year, but the stress level will be high to create regulations that are tough yet fair.

Crosby will be one of the people responsible for creating regulations that the casinos will have to adhere to once they are in operation. The new chairman will likely look first to other states that have regulatory committee's in place, while also adding rules specific to Massachusetts. The hope is that the regulation process goes smoothly leading into the developing and opening of the new gaming resorts.

"We will try to figure out a way to make this as open to the public as it possibly can be," said Crosby, "Nothing, nothing poisons the public perception more than a suspicion that something is going on under the table, and we will be doing everything we possibly can to avoid that suspicion and reality."

The governor, House, and Senate leaders had been criticed over the past year for the way they took the gambling expansion negotiations behind closed doors. The process had been open until the end of 2010, when lawmakers passed legislation that would have brought casino resorts to the state, while also allowing slots at state race tracks. Patrick was opposed to the slots at the tracks, and vetoed the bill.

The governor had ideas, at the time, of bringing lawmakers back for a special session around the winter holidays, but he decided against forcing legislators back at a time when tempers were flaring after the bill veto. Instead, Patrick chose to impore lawmakers to spend their time on other, more pressing issues, such as the economy, earlier this year. By the summer the gambling expansion talk had again surfaced.

Governor Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray started negotiating a newly structured bill behind closed doors, and eventually Patrick and DeLeo came to an agreement that Murray also signed off on. The deal was brought to lawmakers in the House, who quickly passed the bill. The Senate vote took a little while longer, but they eventually passed the legislation as well.

The bill will make Massachusetts the latest Northeastern state to add or expand gambling since the recession. In recent years, Connecticut, Maryland, Maine, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have all expanded their gaming industries, making the Northeast one of the most crowded regions when it comes to casino gambling.

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