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Patrick Urges Casino Bill Compromise

BOSTON — Speaking to WBUR Thursday, Gov. Deval Patrick pushed a compromise between legislative leaders working to draw up a final bill legalizing gaming in Massachusetts.

A disparity on slot machines, which would be allowed by the House version but not the Senate bill, is the most notable issue holding up negotiations on a final version of the legislation.

The governor himself opposes slot machines, but thinks lawmakers can find a way to meet the needs of the state's racetracks without allowing slot machines to operate in their facilities.

"The concern expressed by the tracks about the value of their purses and the employment of their people are things I think that we can deal with in other ways, without putting slots at the tracks," Patrick said. "And I think in that space may be the place for a compromise."

The legislative session is set to expire at the end of the month, but Patrick says he hopes lawmakers can resolve their differences on the casino bill before then.

"I think that if we get a compromise it will be because we've dialed down the rhetoric a little bit and folks have started talking to each other instead of just about each other," Patrick said, "and that's what I've been trying to encourage everyone to do."

Compromise is urgent, Patrick says, in part because the Legislature has come to a stand-still while the details of the gambling bill are hashed out in conference committee.

"We have CORI reform, we have important measures for economic development and support for small businesses," he said. "These and other measures are stuck right now and time is running out."

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This program aired on July 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Bob Oakes Twitter Host, Morning Edition
Bob Oakes has been WBUR's Morning Edition anchor since 1992.

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