Governor Deval Patrick ran his campaign for office on the idea that casino gambling was good for the state. His proposals last year were thwarted by lawmakers, with specific opposition coming from House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.
With DiMasi out of the way, having stepped down amidst a scandal, the engines have once again been amped up to bring casino gambling to the state of Massachusetts. Patrick is now aided by the House Speaker in his efforts, instead of facing resistance.
“Whether it can be done by April or May, I’m not so sure. But I feel there is going to be debate in the House relative to gaming legislation,” said new House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.
DeLeo and Patrick both spoke yesterday at their weekly leadership meeting about expanded gambling. They are hopeful that they can have the matter discussed in this legislative session and that the state can begin adopting the laws necessary to bring casinos to the area.
The two proponents of the expanded gambling may be on the same page on that front, but their idea on how to bring the gambling to Massachusetts are extremely different. DeLeo wants slots brought to the race tracks in the state. Patrick has a grander idea, one that would involve full casino resorts.
The two plans have plenty of support from groups that have been lobbying to bring casinos to the state. In order for something to get on the ballot for November, signatures would be required, but lawmakers believe the groups would have no problem securing the necessary signatures in the appropriate time frame.