Massachusetts Lawmakers Without Gambling Deal As Deadline Looms
Massachusetts lawmakers all have their own ides on how the final gambling legislation should be written, and those conflicting ideas are starting to put pressure on the legislators. Up against a looming deadline, no deal has been reached between the House and the Senate.
The House and Senate have both passed their versions of gambling expansion, but the differences in the two bills has kept a final draft from being completed. The main issue is whether or not racetracks in Massachusetts will get the right to operate slot machines.
The House passed a version that was offered by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and it includes 750 slot machines for each of the state's racetracks. DeLeo has stated that he wants any compromises to move forward with the inclusion of slots for the tracks.
The House speaker was supposed to be an ally of Governor Duval Patrick when he took over for former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi. The latter helped stop gambling legislation from passing last year, and led Patrick to go back to the drawing board.
The governor has been pushing for casino resorts since before he took office. Last year, his proposal was denied by legislators, but this year Governor Patrick had the support of both DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray.
The Senate also has a version of gambling expansion that was passed, although it does not include the slots for the tracks. Track owners have been seeking the state's help to stay afloat in the down economy. The racing industry has been among the hardest hit by the economic recession in the US.
Governor Patrick has said he may veto any gambling expansion that includes the slots, and that may lead lawmakers to eliminate that portion of the new bill.
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