The Patrick administration issued the following statement tonight in response to the passage by the House and Senate of a gaming bill that includes 3 destination resort casinos and 2 slot facilities for the tracks. The statement is clear – if the Legislature insists on including 2 slot licenses in the bill, the Governor will issue a veto.
Statement from the Deval Patrick Administration
“The decision we make to expand gaming in Massachusetts will impact our state for decades. We have to get it right. Destination resort casinos will bring thousands of new jobs and increased economic development. Slots parlors will not. That is why I proposed licensing up to 3 destination resort casinos, and chose not to include slot parlors in my original bill.
“I believe that the bill before the Legislature provides for more licenses than the market can bear, and will therefore not produce the job creation and economic benefits that destination resort casinos would provide. In addition, the inclusion of two slots facilities for the tracks brings social costs without the benefits, and amounts to a “no-bid” contract for the track owners. I have been clear from the beginning that is not something I can accept.
“I have proposed a compromise that provides for one slots facility in addition to destination resorts, so long as that competition for that license is open and transparent. The Legislature has so far rejected that compromise.
“If the Legislature insists on sending me their gaming bill in its current form without addressing these concerns, I will send it back for amendment. The amendment will largely be the full text of the destination resort casino bill passed by the Senate last month, which is similar to and based on the legislation I filed in 2008. (That amendment would include 3 destination resort casinos and no slot facilities.)
“This amendment keeps faith with my convictions about the best long-term interests of the Commonwealth and with our shared interest in job creation. I hope the Legislature will see their way to enact the amendment. However, if the House and Senate choose to send back a bill with two slot facilities and without a truly open and competitive licensing process, I will veto that measure.
“Whether we ultimately agree on a gaming bill or not, it is imperative to the people of the Commonwealth that we see final action on the other pending measures that will expand job opportunities and on which there is support in both houses. Bills are ready for final action to promote further economic growth, to gain access to credit and lower health insurance premiums for small businesses, to reform our broken CORI system and enable former offenders to get back into the job market, and to lower energy costs by enabling more wind power. They all deserve favorable action before the Legislature adjourns tonight.”