Mass. Lawmakers Hear Casino Gambling Bills — Again

A Massachusetts legislative committee is hearing testimony from supporters and opponents of casino gambling.

The hearing Wednesday comes about nine months after an attempt to bring resort-style casinos to the state fell apart. Gov. Deval Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo disagreed over slot machines at the state's racetracks.

The panel is hearing from lawmakers, state officials, union leaders, racetrack owners and recovering gambling addicts. It's expected to be the first in a series of gambling hearings.

Patrick did not testify, but Secretary of Economic Development Gregory Bialecki said the governor continues to support three destination casinos and believes that potential developers could line up the necessary funding to build them.

Patrick opposes no-bid slot parlors.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said if casinos are approved, the state should have strong regulation and tougher laws to prevent organized crime from gaining a foothold in the industry.

Supporters say approving gambling will bring new jobs and revenues into the state. Opponents say the social ills associated with gambling are just too great.

With reporting from The Associated Press and WBUR's Steve Brown

This program aired on May 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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