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News Summary

State leaders agree on casino bill

Publication Date: 8/24/2011
  • Author:Michael Levenson and Noah Bierman
  • Publication:Boston Globe

Governor Deval Patrick and the leaders of the House and Senate yesterday embraced a proposal that would license three casinos and one slot parlor in Massachusetts, uniting the key political players a year after their attempts to expand gambling collapsed in acrimony.

The bill would authorize three Las Vegas-style casinos in three regions, and a fourth gambling hall with up to 1,250 slot machines that could be located anywhere in Massachusetts - all of which backers say would generate much-needed jobs and income for the state.

It represents the state’s third attempt in as many years to legalize casinos, but the first time that Patrick and legislative leaders have worked together to hammer out a proposal before bringing it to the full House and Senate. That collaboration could increase the bill’s chances of passage by avoiding the kind of showdown that killed the legislation last year.

The casinos would operate 24 hours a day and be smoke-free. They could serve free alcohol, but could not serve any drinks between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Developers would be required to invest at least $500 million per casino and each casino would have to include a hotel. Casino licenses would be auctioned for at least $85 million.

The slot-parlor license would be sold for at least $25 million, and the state would require a $125 million investment for that facility.

The casinos would pay the state 25 percent of their revenues; the slot parlor would pay the state 40 percent of its take, and another 9 percent to a special fund to boost purses for the struggling horse-racing industry.