One Week Left Before Massachusetts Gambling Bill Deadline
Lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts have been attempting to bring casino resorts to the state for several months. With one week left in the legislative session, it appears that an impasse will result in another year wasted in the attempt to expand gambling.
The House and the Senate have both agreed that expansion is necessary, they just cannot come to an agreement on how much gambling is needed. The two chambers have both produced gambling bills, but reconciliation seems improbable with the Senate and House not budging on their stances.
The main difference in the two bills is the right for state racetracks to operate slot machines. The House has given the tracks that right, while the Senate does not want the tracks to offer the slot machines. Governor Duval Patrick is strongly opposed to slots at the tracks.
Patrick attempted to convince legislators last year that four casino resorts should be built in Massachusetts. That plan came to an abrupt halt when then-House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi convinced lawmakers to vote against the gambling expansion plan.
When DiMasi was removed from office, Robert DeLeo took over as the House Speaker. DeLeo was in favor of gambling expansion, and it appeared with DeLeo, Patrick, and Senate President Therese Murray all in favor of expansion, a deal would be worked out this session.
Early in the session DeLeo proposed a bill that was passed that would bring casino resorts to the state and give tracks the right top operate 750 slot machines each. Patrick went as far as to say that he may veto any legislation that has slots included at the racetracks.
A six member panel of representatives from the Senate and the House have been working on bridging the gap between the two plans. As of now, not agreement has been worked out, and legislators are less enthusiastic that a compromise could be reached before a July 31st deadline.
The casino resorts would bring millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs to Massachusetts over the next decade.
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