Friday, July 30, 2010

MASSACHUSETTS LAWMAKERS AGREE TO VOTE ON GAMBLING BILL ON SATURDAY

Feather News

Members of Massachusetts' two legislative bodies, the Senate and House, said today that they have finally agreed on a gambling bill that includes three casinos and slot parlors at two of the state's racetracks but the governor said he may veto the bill.

Ever since the Senate approved a measure earlier this month that called for casinos and no slots at racetracks, lawmakers have tried to agree on a solution to their differences.

Governor Deval Patrick said that the bill is unacceptable and may veto it. "Although we have not yet seen the details of the Conference Committee report, I am nonetheless disappointed that it includes more than one slot facility and that there is no provision for open, competitive bidding for the slot licenses. I cannot support this bill in its current form," Patrick said in a press release.

"To break the legislative logjam on these measures, I offered to accept one slot facility, competitively and openly bid, as part of an expanded gaming bill. This is a big concession for me in light of my consistent view that slot parlors do not give us the jobs at higher wages and benefits that justify the social costs."

The agreement among the lawmakers calls for one casino in each of three regions of the state - east, southeast and west.

Casino gambling in Massachusetts could be devastating to the two Indian casinos in Connecticut. It is estimated that between 20 and 25 percent of Mohegan Sun's customers come from Massachusetts while about one-third of Foxwoods customers are Massachusetts residents.

Lawmakers plan to vote on a gambling bill tomorrow which is the last day of their two-year legislative session.

Despite the governor's rhetoric tonight our money is on the guv signing the bill.