Triple Play? House and Senate Report Out on Gambling Bill; Gov. Patrick Offers his Conditional Approval

As expected, the House and the Senate have agreed on legislation for expanded gambling and have reported it out from committee and have made it available to the public in an action taken Tuesday by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray.

Governor Deval Patrick said he approved of the legislation and gave it his conditional OK.

“We support this bill and believe that it provides a strongly regulated and commercially desirable framework for establishing a gaming industry in Massachusetts,” said DeLeo and Murray in a joint statement. “Expanded gaming will create thousands of construction and service jobs and support our on-going efforts to create and retain jobs in the Commonwealth. Further, it will serve as a source of new revenue for Massachusetts and help our economy grow.

“We urge the public to carefully review the bill and look forward to the consideration of this bill in the Legislature in September.”

A few of the specifics enumerated in the 155-page bill include ballot question elections in potential casino host cities, Revere and East Boston, which is home to Suffolk Downs. The host communities will be reimbursed for the cost of the elections by the applicant for a casino license.

There will also be a host community impact fee.

As many as three licenses for casinos can be issued in three regions, which includes Suffolk County in Region 1.

Other conditions require Category 1 licensees where live racing is offered to continue live racing or face the suspension of the casino license.

It also appears that one Category 2 license allowing 1,250 slot machines will be granted.

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