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New Bill Proposed to Allow Gambling in Two Massachusetts Counties

Friday, January 16, 2009

MASSACHUSETTS - As reported by The Republican: "Legislation to allow casino gambling in the state, including one site in Hampden County, has been proposed by a state Senate leader and other legislators.

Whether the bill, which has the backing of two Western Massachusetts senators, has any chance of success this year is uncertain.

It is being backed by the AFL-CIO labor union and the Mohegan Sun which is eyeing a casino in Palmer.

Gov. Deval L. Patrick told the editorial board of The Republican on Jan. 9 that he had made no final decision on whether to file a new bill to legalize casinos. "We're talking that through now with the legislative leadership," Patrick said. "There's no point in filing anything..."

"The latest legislation was filed by state Sen. Joan Menard, D-Fall River, who is the Senate majority whip, and co-sponsored by several other legislators. As proposed, it calls for licensing two resort casinos, one in Bristol County and one in Hampden County, as well as authorizing slot machines at the state's four race tracks..."

"The fact remains many of our residents enjoy gaming and continue to head out of state to do so," Menard said. She cited a University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth study that determined Massachusetts residents spend millions of dollars on gambling in Connecticut each year..."

"In Western Massachusetts, state Sens. Michael R. Knapik, R-Westfield, and Stephen J. Buoniconti, D-West Springfield and state Rep. Rosemary Sandlin, D-Agawam, all said the difficult economy means casinos should be considered. "I think we need to look at every option for revenue," Sandlin said.

"We should be looking to get as much money as we can short of taxation," Buoniconti said. "The dismal economy gives casinos a better chance to pass..."

visit to learn more about the legislation, supporters and opponents.


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