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Massachusetts Casino Expansion Coming Soon

25 August 2011 by admin

massachusetts-location-mapThe controversial and long-planned Massachusetts casino bill should be signed into law by the governor within two months, says House Speaker Robert DeLeo. The speaker says that he is “fairly confident” that the bill will become law before winter.

The bill would allow three resort-style destination casinos as well as one slot parlor at a state racetrack. It is a compromise between DeLeo and Governor Deval Patrick, who opposed a bill last year that would have created two slot parlors in addition to the casinos. Patrick called the slots “no-bid contracts” and refused to sign the bill. He recently said that he will accept one slot parlor if there is competitive bidding for the contract.

DeLeo estimates that the gambling expansion bill will create 7,000 permanent jobs, 6,000 temporary construction jobs, and other 3,000 ancillary jobs in the community that will support the gambling industry, such as hotels and restaurants. Some have said that DeLeo’s original bill was self-serving, since it called for slots at racetracks that are located within his district. Opponents said that he was simply trying to gain support from his constituents, who would return the favor by reelecting him. DeLeo said that his only concern was “to protect people who work at tracks. I am very, very pleased that this is a good jobs bill no matter where these facilities are located. This is about jobs.”

In the new bill, any racetrack in the state, regardless of location, can big on a slot parlor contract. In addition, 9% of gross gaming revenue from the racetrack slot parlor would go to a racehorse development fund, which would be used to increase purses at various tracks.

As states are looking for ways to chip away at the debt, expanding gambling operations for additional tax revenue has been one common response. Other states have also considered regulating online casinos, though to this point is has not been seriously discussed in Massachusetts.

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