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Problem Gambling Group Throws Support Behind Casino Plan

Lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts have been debating casino resort expansion for the past couple of years, and each time they do so, problem gambling groups are watching for the outcome. This past week, that outcome was revealed, and the proposed bill has the backing of the biggest problem gambling group in the state.

The Massachusetts Council on Problem Gambling has announced their support behind the part of the newly created bill that deals with preventing and treating problem gambling. The provision in the bill is aimed at addiction, something that is at the forefront of the battle for problem gambling groups all across the US.

There are not many times that gambling expansion is backed by problem gambling organizations, but in this situation, the better of two evils prevailed. The bill appears to be headed towards approval from legislators in Massachusetts, so the best the Council could hope for was a strong provision to combat problem gambling.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray, and Governor Deval Patrick, are all backing the bill that should go to lawmakers for debate and a vote later this year. DeLeo believes that the legislation will be passed before the new year, ending a negotiating session that has gone on for well over a year.

"We would like to thank the legislators for taking into account so many of the things that we've asked them to consider and for developing a bill that we feel is a big step in the right direction toward addressing concerns about problem gambling and ensuring services for people vulnerable to gambling problems," said MCCG Director Marlene Warner.

The gambling expansion has taken years, but residents and lawmakers are both excited about the possibilities that new gaming facilities will bring to Massachusetts. Thousands of jobs will be created, along with millions of dollars in tax revenue that will go to the state budget. Despite the support for parts of the bill, the Council stopped short of signing off on the legislation as a whole.

"We're not promoting the bill," said Warner. "We wanted to say, problem gambling services are well represented...We expect problem gambling numbers to go up. We hope the funding follows. We hope that the funding follows."

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