Casino gambling legislation, which has dominated debate on Beacon Hill for the last four years, is now law.
Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday signed a bill that sets the stage for three resort-style casinos and one slots parlor to come to Massachusetts.
Patrick said, for him, expanded gaming has always been about creating jobs. Supporters say the law will create thousands of jobs while generating hundreds of millions in revenues.
The governor said the legislation is not the solution to every economic challenge facing the state, nor will it be the cause of every social ill. He said he respects those who have a moral objection to casino gambling.
"Most of our residents currently live within 90 minutes of a gaming facility," he said. "Gaming is already an option for people who want it. I respect those who do have a moral objection, but I am not one of them."
The governor said he plans to do some crash vetting over the next few weeks to select someone to chair the newly formed gaming commission, the five-member panel that will set the rules for how the casino licenses will be awarded.
Patrick says he's looking for someone who can manage large organizations like casino developers.
"I'm looking for someone with unquestioned integrity," he said, "someone who understands the importance of transparency, and also understands that there are a lot of other decision makers that will bear on a decision whether to grant an individual license — most notably, local municipalities."
The attorney general and state treasurer each have one pick for that board as well, and two other members will round out the panel.
The commission must be in place within four months.
It's expected the first resort casino will open in Massachusetts in three to four years.
With additional material by The Associated Press
This article was originally published on November 22, 2011.
This program aired on November 22, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.