State Senate leaders, setting up a clash with their House counterparts, said today that they will propose that Massachusetts license three casinos in three regions of the state but no slot machines at the state’s four ailing racetracks.
The Senate legislation, which senators will discusss at a closed-door caucus Thursday, closely resembles the casino bill proposed by Governor Deval Patrick three years ago. But it differs from the plan passed by the House earlier this year, which called for two casinos and 750 slot machines at each of the state’s four racetracks.
Under the Senate plan, one of the casinos would be designated for an Indian tribe, said Senator Stanley Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat. Senators decided to exclude slots at the tracks from their plan because they believe those slot parlors will sap the market for the casinos, which can generate more revenue and jobs. That will inevitably set up a fight with House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, who strongly backs slots at the tracks.
“You can glut the market if you go too far and compromise the viability of the industry you’re trying to build, and all the data shows very clearly that, if you want to maximize jobs, you need resort-style casinos,” Rosenberg said. “You add very few jobs if you put slots at tracks.”
The bill is set for a public hearing Tuesday. Some details of the legislation – such as the rate at which the casinos would be taxed and the programs that would be paid for with casino revenue – have yet to be worked out, Rosenberg said.
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