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Massachusetts Lawmakers Hoping For Gambling Resolution In 2011

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While lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts were battling each other over casino gambling expansion, those in other states were getting things done. Because of their gridlock, Massachusetts now faces the prospects of being one of the only states in the Northeast without casinos.

That fact has not been lost on House Speaker Robert DeLeo and other lawmakers. DeLeo believes that cooler heads will prevail in 2011, and that a deal will finally be reached that will bring Massachusetts residents their first casino resort.

Whether slot machines at state race tracks is part of any deal remains to be seen. Governor Duval Patrick send legislation back to lawmakers at the end of the last session that had allowances for slots at the tracks. The governor has had a plan all along of major casino resorts and no slots at the tracks.

DeLeo is a strong supporter of giving the tracks relief by adding slot gambling. DeLeo, however, also understands that Massachusetts can not fall any farther behind other states if they are going to be able to compete in the casino industry in the future. Even Maine has now legalized a casino.

Pennsylvania remains the biggest mover when it comes to casino gambling, with lawmakers legalizing table games earlier this year. New York will be making a big splash as soon as the long-talked about casino at Aqueduct opens. Delaware has added not only casinos, but also sports betting.

DeLeo stated on Wednesday that casino expansion is already on his agenda for the new year. Governor Patrick ran his campaign on the idea of casino expansion, so he should not stop any efforts to bring the issue once again to the forefront. Senate President Therese Murray has stayed close to the views of Governor Patrick on the gaming issue.

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