Mass. Senate passes casino gambling bill
The Massachusetts Senate this afternoon approved casino gambling, bolstering the likelihood
that slot machines and full-scale table games will be coming to the Commonwealth.
The bill, which passed 24-14, included a rare vote from Senate President Therese Murray, who
cast her “yes” in a roll call vote just after 4 p.m.
The plan would authorize three “resort” casinos and one slots-only gambling parlor in Massachusetts.
The House passed a similar version of the bill last month. Now the measure goes to a joint House-Senate
conference committee where lawmakers will reconcile the differences that now exist in the two versions.
Once a final proposal has been ironed out, the legislation will head to Governor Deval Patrick’s desk
for his signature. Patrick has indicated initial support for the plan.
Patrick signs Mass. casino gambling bill into law
Governor Deval Patrick has signed the bill legalizing casinos in Massachusetts, ending a years long battle on Beacon Hill
and paving the way for full-scale casinos and slots in this state.
In a bill-signing ceremony at the State House this morning, the Governor, flanked by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo,
made Massachusetts the 40th state in the country to legalize casinos and slot parlors.
The historic signing follows years of intense lobbying by the casino industry and several near misses in the Legislature.
The bill, approved by lawmakers on a final vote in the waning hours of the legislative session last week, allows three
full-scale casinos and one slot machine parlor.
Lawmakers say the slot parlor, which requires minimal investment, could open within a year. There is disagreement
over how long it will take to open the casinos: a state report has suggested a 5-year timetable is possible while proponents
have said it could take as little as three to four years.
Supporters, including Patrick and the state’s other most powerful Democrats, say casinos will help reduce the state’s
unemployment problem and revitalize the state budget. They say state residents are already spending freely at casinos
in neighboring states.
Opponents counter that the state will lose money combating increased crime and dependency and diminish residents’
quality of life through increased addiction.