Casino Debate Still Raging

Published on: March 18, 2008 

Massachusetts may find a state wide referendum on the ballots if the House kills a gambling proposal latter in the week.  Senator Steven Panagiotakos, a Democrat and a member of the state’s Ways and Means Committee, feels that the gambling issue is too important to be killed and will fight to keep it alive regardless of the backstabbing currently going on between the states governor, Deval Patrick, and the House Speaker Salvatore Di Masi.

If the measure gets passed, the state of Massachusetts will be erecting three brand new casinos that create application sales of more than $600 million, $400 million in annual revenue, and 20,000 much needed jobs.  Opponents of the measure are stating that they would simply be adding to the social problem of gambling, and the many varieties of crime gambling addiction causes.  DiMasi is confidant that the House will win and the casinos soon to be a dream.

The subject comes up in hearing in the state government on March 18th and it could be brought to the floor for discussion, debate, and voting as early as Thursday, March 20th.  Currently it is unknown whether or not provisions have been made for an alternate plan should the referendum be denied.  Senator Panagiotakos believes that putting it on the ballot in November will get them a good idea of how the public feels about gambling.  Since the polls are currently split, the voice of the citizens could be heard and the final judgement swung towards it being passed.

In order for the measure to succeed, it would the approval of the House and Senate in majority.  It would also need the Governor’s signature, which is not a problem considering he is for getting it passed.  It would need to go through no later than July in order to hit the November ballot.  The referendum would be the last item on the list but no one knows whether or not it will be binding or non-binding until they go to vote.  Proponents of the referendum are doing everything they possibly can to make sure that it makes it to the point of the ballots in November.

Other subjects on the list for November’s ballot include the banning of greyhound racing and the legalization of up to one ounce of marijuana.  Since more than likely the government will continue to fight this issue, the words ‘NON BINDING’ would be included on the November ballot for people to see and understand.

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