Governor Deval Patrick today sent an amended gambling expansion bill back to legislators that would eliminate a provision for two slot machine facilities, and he retracted a previous compromise offer to allow one slot parlor in the state.
"I'm done. I'm done with that," he said of his earlier offer.
Patrick also reiterated his strong opposition to awarding slot licenses to racetrack owners.
"I'm not going to be a party to no-bid contracts for track owners," he said.
Patrick has supported legislation that would allow casinos in the state, while the Legislature -- after being pressed by the House, which passed a bill approving slot machines at the state's four racetracks -- supported authorizing casinos as well as slot machines at racetracks.
During House-Senate negotiations on a compromise bill, Patrick, a longtime opponent of slot machines, said he would approve one slot parlor as long as it was subject to open bidding and not dedicated to one of the racetracks.
But the Legislature on Saturday, the last day of the session, overwhelmingly approved a bill calling for three casinos and two slot parlors. Under that bill, the state's four racetracks would bid for the two slots licenses, a condition Patrick said he could not accept.
Patrick's stand quickly drew criticism from both of his opponents in the governor's race, including the independent candidate, state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill. "Treasurer Cahill stands firm in his belief that three resort-style casinos and two slot destinations would be the best plan to bring in 15,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of instant revenue," said Cahill campaign spokesman Juli Sweeney.
Republican Charles D. Baker said Patrick had been a "completely ineffective leader."
Patrick waved off the comments. "You know that if I walked on water, my opponents would complain that I can' t swim," he said.
Asked if he thought the legislation was now dead, Patrick, who spoke to reporters at a campaign appearance this morning, said, "Well, I hope it's not dead. It's really in the Legislature's hands at this point. I'm going to today send them an amendment back, as I've said, for them to enact what we have agreed on. We have all agreed on three destination, resort-style casinos and the Legislature has voted on it as well. We do not agree on slot parlors."
"I'm not doing anything other than sticking by the position I took from the beginning," he said.
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