Monday, August 2, 2010

Massachusetts Governor Wants Legislators To Return To Work For Amended Gambling Bill

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said today that he will only sign a gambling bill that allows resort casinos and not a bill that permits slot parlors at racetracks without competitive bidding. Patrick said "he is not going to be a party to no-bid contracts."

Should Patrick follow through on his threat, which is expected to take place later today, that would mean both the Senate and House would need to reconvene to pass an amendment to their bill approved Saturday which calls for three resort casinos and slot parlors at two of the state's racetracks.

House Speaker Robert Deleo said last week that he would not take out racetrack slot parlors from the bill and Senate President Therese Murray last week that she would not call the Senate back into session. Both would need to reverse their positions gambling legislation to pass unless both houses can overide a veto by the governor which is possible in the House but doubtful in the Senate.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 115-36 yesterday followed by the Senate's vote of 25-15 in the afternoon of the last day of its two-year legislative session.

The legislation passed on Saturday, the last day of the two-year legislative session, calls for three casinos - one resort casino in eastern, southeastern and western Massachusetts and all three competitively bid - while also providing for 1,000-1,250 slot machines at two racetracks. Each of the casino licenses would be sold for $85 million while the racetrack slot parlor licenses would go for $20-25 million each.