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Casino Bill to Create Hospitality Jobs in Boston

Posted on April 13, 2010

To gamble or not to gamble? That’s what lawmakers in Boston, Mass. are deciding as they vote on whether or not to pass a bill that would spark the creation of casinos and new hospitality jobs in Boston (click here).

According to OnlineCasinoSphere.com, with the casino gambling bill authored by Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo being pushed toward a rapid vote, voices around the state are asking their opinions on the subject be heard.

Patrick, who led the fight to pass a casino bill over a year ago only to have it blocked from advancing by political opponents, is wary of legislation that allows race track slots. hile the DeLeo measure would include both slots and casinos, Patrick notes creation of jobs is much greater with casinos.

The House advanced legislation legalizing two casinos and four racetrack slot machine venues on a voice vote and then followed that up with a pair of votes against sending the bill back to committee for further examination and a public hearing.

With the bill’s sponsor, Speaker Robert DeLeo presiding, the House voted to move the bill forward. The bill, announced last week, allows up to 750 slot machine at the state’s two horse tracks and two former dog tracks.

House lawmakers have offered 216 amendments, which were being considered as the House debated passing the bill and sending it to the Senate – if necessary, three consecutive days have been set aside for the deliberations.

Senate President Therese Murray has stated similar thoughts to Patrick. She cites the need for destination casinos, which bring hospitality jobs at hotels and restaurants as well as gaming, and says she thinks slots are an improper fix.

Running through the political dialogue is the misconception that casino gambling creates significant social ills. While the argument that problem gambling and its symptoms would increase with expanded gambling seems simple enough, actual evidence reveals the assumption to be false.

Still, politicians attempt to mimic the thoughts in the public’s head, and the idea that gambling leads to undesireable changes in the community can only be refuted by takinbg the trouble to examine results in areas around the country that have added casinos and new gaming.

DeLeo has resisted attempts to hold public hearings on his bill, saying all he talk over the last year is hearing enough. But hidden clauses, such as the one making playing at online casinos a crime punishable by years in prison, neecd to be examined in the open light.

Before launching into a debate on an amendment requiring at least one casino to be located in western Massachusetts, Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Thomas Petrolati, who presided during the session after taking the gavel from DeLeo, told members a consolidated amendment on siting would be available for House members to review. That prompted expanded gambling opponent Rep. Ruth Balser (D-Newton) to question whether a meeting with members had preceded the consolidated amendment’s formulation. Petrolati initially did not respond to Balser’s inquiry.

When she asked again later, Petrolati explained that members would be permitted to offer their amendments individually if they wished.

Speaking in favor of the amendment, Rep. Sean Curran (D-Springfield) said a casino could boost the western region.

“These are the jobs we need to anchor western Massachusetts,” said Curran, asserting the region had been left out of the expansion of University of Massachusetts, seen billions of dollars poured into the Big Dig in eastern Massachusetts, and failed to capitalize on state investments in the biotech industry