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Mass. Casino Debate Heads Behind Closed Doors

On Tuesday, legislative leaders are expected to name the appointees to a six-member conference committee charged with taking the Massachusetts House and Senate versions of the casino bill and drafting a final compromise.

Those discussions aren't open to the public.

Gov. Deval Patrick has emphasized he wants a voice in the final bill, which is being hammered out as lawmakers close in on the July 31 end of their formal session.

One of the key differences between the bills is the question of slot machines at racetracks.

The House bill allows two casinos and 750 slots at each of the state's four racetracks. The Senate bill calls for three casinos and maintains the existing ban on racetrack slots.

Despite the differences, Sen. Stan Rosenberg, who helped write the Senate bill, says he's optimistic about the legislation's overall chances.

"I think there's general agreement and understanding that whether we want to or not, expanded gaming is coming to Massachusetts in the next few years and we can either regulate, control and tax it or it's just going to happen around us," he said.

This program aired on July 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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