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Debate Begins for Massachusetts Casinos

Debate Begins for Massachusetts Casinos

Debate has begun in the Massachusetts legislature about a new push to bring three Vegas-style casinos and a slot machine parlor to the state. Proponents of the bill point to the potential for thousands of new jobs and millions in additional tax revenues, while opponents fear that crime and poverty will increase for many residents.

Representative Joseph Wagner -- the lead sponsor of the bill -- opened the debate by proclaiming that he himself doesn't gamble or even care for it much: "I suppose I could take or leave... but I can’t ignore the thousands of jobs and I won’t ignore the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue."

Many believe the passage of the bill is virtually guaranteed, especially since many Massachusetts residents are already leaving the state with their gambling dollars instead going to Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Atlantic City.

Opponents cite the usual objections, pointing to states that have legalized casinos and seen crime, suicide rates, and other social ills increase. Other opponents believe that casinos undercut the traditional tourist draw of Massachusetts, as far as Colonial influences and beaches and natural beauty.

Massachusetts isn't the only state looking to increased gambling as a way of propping up groaning state budgets, as New Jersey, California, and Nevada have all considered online gambling measures in the last year as a way of plugging holes in declining state revenues due to the lingering recession in the US.

14-Sep-2011, 06:46

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