Mass. Senate Approves Gambling Bill

State senators on Thursday approved a bill that would allow the state to license up to three resort-style casinos and one slots parlor in Massachusetts.

The 24-14 vote in the Senate followed by five days of debate spread over the last three weeks. Senators approved about 50 amendments to the House-passed bill, while rejecting more than 100 others.

"This is an economic development bill and it's gonna create jobs and we have over 250,000 people out of work in the commonwealth," said Senate President Therese Murray after the vote. "And that's why we're doing this bill, and the revenue we're going to pull back from the other states around our borders."

Casino opponent Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, said he's disappointed, but not surprised, by the outcome.

"We were able to put in some consumer protection, some more community mitigation measures, but you know I think this is a very bad decision and one that will hurt all of Massachusetts," he said.

Differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill must still be worked out in a conference committee before it can be sent to Gov. Deval Patrick for his signature.

After the vote, longtime casino supporter Speaker Robert DeLeo issued a statement congratulating the Senate, and added he looks forward to the House and Senate working out the differences.

The bill would authorize one casino to be located in eastern Massachusetts, one in western Massachusetts and one in the southeastern part of the state.

Bids for the resort casinos would start at $85 million and one of the three licenses must be awarded to a federally recognized Indian tribe.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on October 13, 2011.

This program aired on October 13, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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