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Mass. official bought stock in gambling companies

October 26, 2011

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BOSTON—A top official in Gov. Deval Patrick's administration official has sold stock in two Las Vegas gambling companies after buying the investment last year as state lawmakers considered licensing three destination casinos in Massachusetts.

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Gregory Bialecki said his financial adviser bought the stock in Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd., both of which are eyeing casinos in the state and have spent money lobbying lawmakers.

The story was first reported by The Boston Globe.

Bialecki said Wednesday that he has since sold the $17,100 in stock, even though neither company is currently doing business with his office. The stock was purchased for $11,800.

Bialecki said he sold the stock as a "precautionary measure."

"If a gaming bill does pass, it's possible in the future that either of these companies may want to do business with this office," he said Wednesday.

Lawmakers are expected to approve a casino bill later this year. The bill would license three casinos and one slots parlor in the state.

Patrick, who appointed Bialecki to his post in the administration, supports the licensing of casinos in Massachusetts.

Patrick press secretary Kimberly Haberlin told the Globe that Bialecki acted with "an abundance of caution" by selling the stock well before the administration would have to put a new casino law into effect.

A six-member House and Senate panel is trying to draft a compromise bill from the two casino bills approved by each chamber. That compromise bill will have to be approved a final time by lawmakers before being sent to Patrick for his signature.