Mass. kills casino legislation.

Region Cast Its Votes on Casinos

By Denise Locke

“New England voters went to the polls in November to cast their votes on expanded gambling. Ballot questions asking communities whether or not they would support casinos in the town of Chicopee, Pittsfield and Worcester were approved. Pittsfield reported a 59 percent majority in favor of a casino in their town, while approvals in Chicopee and Worcester edged out a 51 percent approval.

Gov. Deval Patrick recently came out in favor of licensing three resort casinos, one of which would be slated for the western Massachusetts. The ballot questions are non-binding, but will play in important role when legislation is filed later this month. Meanwhile, Maine voters turned down a Passamaquoddy Tribe’s initiative to build a racino in Washington County. Maine already has one racino in Bangor, Hollywood Slots, which is home to almost 500 slot machines. Hollywood Slots is in a temporary facility while their permanent casino is being built.”

The article appeared in the December 2007 edition of New England Gaming News.

The current issue of  New England Gaming News April 2008 is not available online but on page 3 there is an article “Mass. Craps Out on Casinos.” By Gary Locke.

Some of the main points included:

Senate Joint Economic Committee Voted 10-8 killing the legislation which would have granted licenses for three casinos. The date was March 18.

The defeat of the legislation will cost Massachusetts an expected 400 million from licensing fees from the casinos, and thousands of construction jobs.

The Committee had a responsibility to allow for a fair process in which the merits of destination resort casinos legislation would be debated extensively and thoughtfully. On this responsibility to provide for basic democracy the Committee fell woefully short.” Said AFL-CIO president Robert J. Hayes.

The defeat of the Massachusetts legislation I think creates a much larger market for New Hampshire based casinos if legislation like the currently tabled Senate Bill 306 were ever to be passed. This same newspaper also had a short news point about a survey that was recently done by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth which stated that in 2007 Massachusetts residents spent 846 million dollars at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos. I’m confident if New Hampshire did a similar type of study it would amount to millions of dollars leaving the granite state.

The website for the New England Gaming News www.thenegn.com