Packed gambling hearing as leadership split remains

Last year, the seemingly unstoppable push for expanded predatory gambling in Massachusetts came to a halt when a division developed between Beacon Hill leaders over the placement of slot machines at the state’s racetracks. The debate has once again kicked off with a major hearing at the State House last week. All the major pro-gambling players made their usual arguments, and Gov. Deval Patrick and House Speaker Robert DeLeo still appear to be on opposite sides of the racetrack debate.

MFI testified against any expansion of gambling, and you can read my testimony on our website. I reiterated the profound negative impact that casinos would have on the stability of families, citing numerous studies proving that point. Referring to the fact that there has never been an unbiased impact study of expanded gambling in Massachusetts (all to date were funded by the gambling industry), I asked the Committee, “How can we seriously consider something that would so alter the character of our state without proof that it will do no harm?”

Joining the argument against the casinos was former state Sen. Susan Tucker: “I’m opposed to an industry which depends on addiction for its profits. And I’m opposed to our state government partnering with an industry that causes human misery and destroys families.”

Patrick and DeLeo have met this year on this issue, but those discussions do not seem to have broken the impasse, reports the Boston Herald. Patrick repeatedly has said that casinos are not among his top priorities for the current legislative session. We will continue to monitor this situation and lobby legislators, especially those elected last November, on this issue. For more information, please visit our friends at www.uss-mass.org.

    Source: Boston Herald

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