House Speaker Robert DeLeo detailed last week how expanded gambling might take shape and form in the next few months.
The release of a detailed bill by the House of Representatives was received warmly by those believing that casino gambling and slot machines will raise new tax dollars as well as create thousands of new jobs and put to work thousands of unemployed tradesmen along the way.
The bill provides for hefty fees for race track owners to sign up for slots – something like $70 million for a license, meaning the four tracks in Massachusetts might conceivably pony up $300 million to the state for the right to place as may as 750 slot machines in their gambling facilities.
The two suggested casinos given a right to exist by the House bill would require $200 million each in licensing fees or a whopping $400 million that would go to the state treasury and the various new accounts set-up as part of the gambling bill.
Overall, the bill was well laid out, easy to understand and workable and fair, I believe.
The best part about expanding gambling in Massachusetts is that whatever is done at the tracks and or at the casinos, will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenues and fees with all of it being accomplished with private capital.
Taxpayers have nothing to lose.
It is private capital which will drive this expansion – not state dollars or tax deals.
Private capital will win or lose on this foray into expanded gambling – and it is the taxpayers and residents of Massachusetts who stand to win or lose as well.
No one will be forced to go into a casino and to gamble any more than taxpayers are now forced to play the Lottery and its various games.
Very little about quality of life in Massachusetts will be altered.
No more studies are needed except, perhaps, for a psychological study ordered for those who say we need one.
The House committee on commerce voted favorably to recommend the report to the House early this week.
Then the House will vote on the bill and pass it.
Then it travels to the senate where insiders believe it may be pared down, with slots being stricken from the bill.
Whatever happens, this is a good way to generate new revenues and jobs which are badly needed.
Gambling is not something new here in Massachusetts.
It is something tried and true.
It is an industry about to grow.