Time has come for Casino Legislation: Legislature, Governor Need to Get it Done

There can be doubt now that the debate about expanded gaming for Massachusetts, and by that we mean casinos, will begin in earnest on Beacon Hill after Labor Day.

Speaking at the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce’s legislative luncheon Monday at the Lodge of Elks, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo personally delivered the message that the  House of Representatives and the State Senate will debate the issue with the hope of having a bill on the Governor’s desk by the end of September.

DeLeo feels the construction of casinos in Massachusetts would means jobs. He estimated that between 15,000-20,000 jobs will be created in the construction phase of the  complexes and in the operation of the casinos themselves once they open for business. DeLeo said that in his travels he hears about unemployment rates of 30-50 percent at building trade union halls across the state. “My concern is jobs,” the Speaker told the gathering at the Elks.

DeLeo pledged to the audience that he will keep working to advance the bill and get it done. He said he will keep doing everything in his power to fight for jobs and local aid.

Last year it appeared the Commonwealth was set to move forward with a gaming bill, but it fell short at the last moment. This time, our leaders, Governor Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray, and Speaker DeLeo, appear to be working closely and in unison on this important issue that will affect the lives of Winthrop residents in the years to come.

The debate is on and we expect that casino opponents such as Winthrop resident John Ribiero will  join in the discussion. But we know that Speaker DeLeo and Senator Anthony Petruccelli have done their homework on the impact of casinos on the state and local communities and will decide what is best for our town. The prospect of 20,000 jobs, many of them permanent and full time, is a difficult proposition to ignore, especially given the economic climate in which we find ourselves.

The casino debate will undoubtedly be the most watched story of September and we’re pleased that our representatives on Beacon Hill, Speaker DeLeo and Sen. Petruccelli, are on top of the issue, understand the magnitude of the vote, and are watching out for our best interests.

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