Photo Finish

Jon Keller is reporting that the conference committee reconciling the gambling bills of the House and Senate has encountered some heavy turbulence. Some reports indicate that the Senate has rejected a House proposal that would license two racetracks (instead of four) for slots on a competitive basis and license three resort style casinos, with the locations to be determined by a State Gaming Commission. The Senate appears to be prepared to license one location for slots on a competitive basis, with no guarantee that it would go to a track. Reports indicate that the Senate proposal would bring 750 slot machines to the one licensed site, while the House proposal would still bring 3000 slot machines to two racetracks. The Speaker’s original proposal calls for 3000 slots, to be given on a no bid basis, to four racetracks. It also appears clear that the House side is doing the leaking on the apparent stalemate. More to come, with the Governor’s hand strengthening with every day that goes by.

Read the Globe story here.

See the Jon Keller report here.

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2 Responses to Photo Finish

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Where do you stand on the Gambling matter?

    I think it’s a bad idea.

    Jules

    Like

  2. Bill Manzi says:

    Jules,

    Inevitable but not especially desirable. Let me give you some of my jumbled thoughts.

    1)With the steep decline in revenue and the unwillingness to look at dramatic changes in the way the state does business the state will continue to grasp at “magic revenue” type solutions. From a business perspective we should seek to drive revenue, but even the most optimistic gaming revenues will be swallowed whole by the relentless march of the budget busters.

    2) Jobs: No doubt that legalized gaming will produce both construction jobs and gaming industry jobs. Opponents of gaming downplay this, but in today’s economy the jobs issue has to be considered of vital importance.

    3) Social Costs: Proponents of gaming downplay the social costs, and usually produce feel good legislation that offers “help” to problem gamblers. A large scale expansion of gaming will produce additional misery for some segment of the population. I tend to be libertarian in these matters, but facts are facts. To me, there is no denying this one. Slot parlors, in my view, increase this problem.

    4)The Lottery: Lottery revenues, which provide an enormous amount of local aid, could take a hit from increased gaming, and especially from slot parlors. The Speaker has inserted language in the House bill that would give additional local aid. While some have jumped at it I ponder the net effect, after you remove a certain percentage of lottery sales. (I am a former lottery agent)

    5) As the Mayor of Methuen I remain deeply concerned about the potential for legalized gaming in New Hampshire, especially at Rockingham Park. The gaming “arms race” competition between the States would require, in my opinion, some response from Massachusetts.

    6) The Connecticut factor cannot be discounted. I am sympathetic to the argument that we have de-facto gaming with the close proximity of Foxwoods and Mohegan, without Massachusetts deriving the financial benefit.

    Pretty long answer, eh? I do believe that my position on gaming is closer to Deval Patrick’s than to Speaker Deleo’s.

    Like

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