by Andy Holtmann
Massachusetts Gov. says yes to casinos, no to slots at tracks
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said in September that he would support the building of three resort casinos in his state. The casinos would produce $400 million in revenue per year, the taxes from which would help provide much-needed funding for road and bridge repairs and property tax relief., his spokeswoman, Rebecca Deusser said.
The governor also said the casinos would generate billions of dollars of construction-related spending, as well as add thousands of construction and other related jobs.
“After thoroughly reviewing the arguments and the analysis on both sides of the issue, I believe authorizing three resort casinos will have significant economic benefits to Massachusetts,” Patrick said in a statement.
The casino plan would still have to be approved by the state’s Legislature, but Patrick envisioned one of the properties being built in the Boston metro area, with the other two finding homes in the western and southeastern parts of the states.
Under Patrick’s proposal, casino companies would bid for three licenses, which will be renewable every 10 years. One of the licenses will have a tribal component, the statement said.
Missing from Patrick’s gaming plan is slots at the state’s four racetracks. The state’s horse and dog racing industry has lobbied to add slots at the tracks as a way to improve business and compete with other states’ gaming facilities. But Patrick has been opposed to the move, opining that destination casinos would create more jobs and tax revenue.
The state is facing an estimated $15 billion to $19 billion shortfall in transportation funding over the next 20 years. Patrick also wants to be able to provide property tax credits to more than 1 million homeowners.
Patrick also indicated he would set aside 5 percent of casinos’ gross revenue to address gambling addiction and to compensate communities where resorts would be located for higher public safety costs.