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DeLeo Wants Racinos and Resort Casino Gambling in Mass

By Brian Chan on March 6, 2010  Email it!    Print Version

Play Slots at Rushmore Casino! BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo announced his plans for legalizing gambling in the state this week, as the legislature finally prepares to address the subject of casinos. DeLeo sided with both pari-mutuels and casino developers, proposing slots be allowed at race tracks and new resorts licensed by the state.

DeLeo said he would introduce legislation authorizing two casinos and slots at the state's four race tracks. But his announcement met unexpected resistance from other purported supporters of expanded gambling, illustrating why gaming laws in Massachusetts have been so difficult to change.

Both Governor Deval Patrick and Senate President Therese Murray say they agree about licensing casinos, but balk at giving track operators slots to keep them competitive with the new gambling venues. Murray released a statement saying the casinos are “the best gambling option to optimize revenues and create permanent jobs.”

Patrick also cited the need for jobs as a reason to favor creation of casinos. And it didn't escape observers' notice that DeLeo has two of the four state tracks in his district, putting pressure on him to include pari-mutuels in any deal.

But neither Murray nor Patrick addressed the potential offsetting loss of jobs that may occur if casinos make the already-struggling racing industry a failing proposition.

“Clearly, jobs will be lost if the tracks are denied slot machines,” said Richard McGowan, a professor at Boston College, to the Boston Herald.

Certainly, fighting over which gambling to approve risks losing both jobs and revenue that could be created if another year of debate ensues.

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