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Govenor Patrick Sends Casino Gambling Bill to Legislature

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October 11, 2007

Governor Deval Patrick filed a bill today to legalize gambling and license three casinos in three separate regions of the state - metropolitan Boston and the North Shore, Southeastern Massachusetts, and Western Massachusetts. The bill provides details to the proposal he outlined September 17th.

It would give the Govenor control of a seven-member Massachusetts Gaming Control Authority to auction off licenses and regulate the new casinos. Members would include the state treasurer and the state auditor. The five remaining members would be appointed by the governor.

Gov. Patrick estimates that three casinos would add $2 billion to the state's economy, $400 million a year to state revenues, and 20,000 jobs. He projects that casino developers would bid for three 10-year licenses would bring a combined $600-$900 million to the state.

A $350,000 filing fee would be paid by bidders to have their application reviewed. There would also be a minimum licensing fee of $200 million. The state would receive 27 percent of the gross annual gambling revenues or $100 million a year, whichever is larger.

There is also a provision to encourage a Native American casino, such as the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe who have proposed a resort casino in Middleborough. The state would prefer the tribe to seek a state license rather than federal approval, so potentially there could be four casinos.

House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, who is a gambling opponent, has said the bill will not be voted on in the House until next year.

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