Friday, July 16, 2010

Votes to Note: Expanded Gaming

On Thursday, July 1, the Senate voted to approve a bill, S. 2530, which would authorize expanded gaming in Massachusetts in the form of three resort-style casinos. Although I believe that capturing gaming revenues now escaping across state borders is important and warranted, I did not support this legislation for a number of reasons, including:

1) The number of resort casinos it authorizes could well lead to market saturation.
2) It authorizes new forms of spending, rather than directing new gaming revenues to existing commitments such as local aid and the stabilization fund.
3) It creates a massive new bureaucracy around the regulation of gaming.

I did offer several amendments to address these issues, but most were rejected along with those offered by many members of the Senate. You can read summaries of them and view the actual vote taken on the bill (S. 2530) by clicking “Read more” below.

Clerk 117.1: Ensures that all people working either at a casino or in the construction of a casino are legally authorized to work in the United States. This amendment was adopted by a voice vote.

Clerk 123: Allows an exemption to anti-gambling laws for bona fide coin-operated amusement machines.

Clerk 125: Strikes the designation of the gaming board and commission as an independent authority, bringing them within the executive branch.

Clerk 127: Combines the duplicative gaming control board and gaming commission into one entity.

Clerk 128: Disqualifies any person convicted of a felony from being employed by the gaming control board. This amendment was adopted by a voice vote.

Clerk 131: Sends all gaming revenue to three destinations: 10% to the gaming mitigation trust fund, 45% to the stabilization fund, and 45% to local aid.

Clerk 132: Requires the governor to remove any gaming commissioner or board member if they commit malfeasance, are unable to discharge their duties, are convicted of a felony, or neglect their duties.

Clerk 134: Requires that all commissioners be residents of Massachusetts at the time of appointment. This amendment failed on a 14 to 25 roll call vote.

Clerk 135: Strikes a requirement that board members make a salary equal to the secretary of administration and finance, and allows them to receive a salary not more than the secretary.

Expanded Gaming