Governor Deval Patrick plans to propose as early as tomorrow that the state sell licenses for three full-scale resort casinos in Massachusetts, citing their potential to spur economic growth, create jobs, and generate new government revenue, according to State House officials who have been briefed on his plan.This is great news and a smart decision. I've written about this before. If the state is going to allow casino gambling, it's better to let companies bid for the licenses, rather than just hand them out to the racetrack operators.
Patrick will recommend that the casinos be licensed in three regions: Southeastern Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts, and an area that includes Boston and points north, the officials said. His announcement will mark the culmination of months of study and the end of a long stretch of public silence on the subject of legalized gaming.
All three licenses would be put up for competitive bid, in a process that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in immediate and direct state revenue, the officials said.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe would have to outbid other competitors if it wishes to quickly proceed with its plans for a resort-style casino in Middleborough, the officials said. If the tribe decides against seeking a state license or fails to receive one in the bidding process, it could still proceed with a longer, more arduous federal approval process that could result in a fourth Massachusetts casino.
The governor will not recommend allowing slot machines at the state's financially struggling horse and dog tracks, the officials said, a decision which is sure to set off protests and a major lobbying push in the Legislature from the politically powerful track operators.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Massachusetts Casino Bidding War
Patrick to offer 3-casino plan: