International edition
September 26, 2020

The House passed the compromise bill 115-36

Massachusetts governor asks lawmakers to accept casinos but not slot parlors

(US).- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said that he would send a more limited casino gambling bill back to the Legislature, stripped of any free-standing slot parlors, and called upon lawmakers to accept the change.

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eval Patrick said he will not support a bill passed this afternoon by the House and Senate that allows three resort-style casinos and two racetrack slot parlors. The Senate passed the bill 25-15 this afternoon after less than an hour of debate. Prior to that, the House passed the compromise bill 115-36.

Patrick yesterday vowed to veto the gaming legislation if it includes more than one racino, setting up a high-stakes showdown. This afternoon he held firm. “My views haven’t changed,” Patrick said during a press conference. Asked if he was standing pat, he said, “I am.”

The plan would have one resort-style casino each in the following areas: eastern Massachusetts to Worcester County; southeastern Massachusetts; and western Massachusetts. The slot parlors would be bid on by the state’s four racetrack owners.
The three-casino, two-racino compromise deal was reached yesterday.

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, who has pushed for racinos, has urged the governor to have an open mind. “I know the governor is a reasonable guy. I know he’s there for local aid. I know he’s there for job expansion so I’m hopeful,” said DeLeo yesterday.

DeLeo’s Winthrop district includes Suffolk Downs and Wonderland racetracks that could score the coveted slots.Senate President Therese Murray, said yesterday that the Legislature won’t be coming back in session to override a possible Patrick veto - leaving the historic bills fate in limbo. The session ends at midnight tonight. “If they think 15,000 jobs are important, they can come back for a day,” one Patrick administration official told the Herald.

The bill is expected to bring in us$ 400 million a year for Massachusetts, including us$ 100 million in slot revenues that would go directly to cities and towns. Casinos would be forced to invest a minimum of us$600 million in the community where they build, while slot parlors would have to invest up to us$ 125 million.

Some union leaders warned Patrick that vetoing the legislation would be a political gamble - especially after Patrick said he’s already open to one slots license.

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