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Massachusetts Holding Gambling Expansion Hearings

4 May 2011 by admin

massachusetts-location-mapToday lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts are meeting in a public hearing to discuss gambling expansion. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that has happened a lot lately. As recently as last year, the legislature passed a bill that would have expanded gambling, but it was vetoed by Governor Deval Patrick. Now the lawmakers are trying again.

Lawmakers and voters on each side of the issue get to share their opinion on gambling expansion yet again. The hearing isn’t being attended by Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray or House Speaker Robert DeLeo, but they will pay attention to the results. All three – each Democrats – want to see some form of gambling expansion in the state, though they have different priorities. They want different things and place different levels of importance on the legislation. For DeLeo, it is an important issue, while Patrick admitted that it’s not a high priority for him.

Last year, the state legislature passed a bill expanding casino gambling, but Patrick vetoed it. Governor Patrick wants to add casino resorts, but does not want any slot machines brought to racetracks. Speaker DeLeo wants both and the House and Senate passed a bill that contained both. Governor Patrick had threatened to veto any bill that creates racinos and once the bill hit his desk, he did exactly that.

Patrick’s stance has not changed. He wants to allow three casino resorts, but does not want to add slots to racetracks, which would create competition for the new casinos. If the legislation is going to become law, it seems likely that DeLeo will have to give in to Patrick and drop the slots from the bill.

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