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Massachusetts Governor Signs Casino Bill

Legislation Will Create a Gaming Comission and Three Full-Scale Casinos

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The Boston Globe reported on Tuesday that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill into law that will allow for the creation of three full-scale casinos and one slot-only casino in the state.

Massachusetts is now the 40th state to legalize casinos and slot parlors. Gambling in the state had previously been limited to forms of horse racing and a lottery.

The Boston Herald reported that Patrick said, “expanded gaming in Massachusetts, for me, is about creating jobs,” before signing the bill.

“I am pleased to sign this bill today and proud of the work my team and the Legislature has done to bring it to this point,” he said.

Patrick had been pushing for casinos in the state since 2008.

The legislation creates a new Gaming Commission, which will be given the power to select one casino in each of three regions in the state. There is no requirement to issue all three licenses right away, according to Patrick.

A developer who wins a bid must pay a $85 million license fee and invest at least $500 million in the brick-and-mortar operation.

The casinos will be taxed at a rate of 25 percent of revenue. The slot-only casino will have to pay less in fees, but will be taxed at 49 percent.

According to the Boston Herald, the revenue generated for the state is set to be divided up in areas such as transportation infrastructure, anti-addiction services, the arts, race horse development, health care reform efforts, and public safety.

Critics of the bill argue its effects on crime, corruption, addiction, local businesses and the state lottery. Opponents reportedly could seek to repeal the measure.

In early November, Reuters reported that casinos in Massachusetts would threaten operations in neighboring Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus