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New House Speaker revives casino debate

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April 17, 2009

Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo said that Senate President Therese Murray and Governor Deval Patrick agree with him that casino talks should be back on the table, and the Bay State should debate whether to tap into the $900 million a year that goes directly to Rhode Island and Connecticut casinos.

DeLeo believes it is time to seek new revenues that could help the state's budget woes.

"I've always been a supporter of slots, in particular at race tracks," DeLeo said. "I think that's probably quicker means of providing money. But as I told the Governor and the Senate President, I'm also open to the idea of expanding gaming."

However, he quickly added that casinos are by no means the "cure all" for the state's budget shortfalls. Instead he feels it is another avenue for lawmakers to use and get the state back on the right track.

The former Speaker of the House Sal Dimasi had long been an opponent to legalized gambling. He shot down the governor's proposal for three resort casinos in the state.

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