Massachusetts stealth attack...

jetset

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STEALTH ATTACK ON INTERNET GAMBLING

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick includes anti-online gambling clause in land casino bill

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts was caught out by the Poker Players' Alliance in a little sleight of political hand this week when he proposed a bill to allow resort-style casinos into the state, but included a rather hypocritical clause to ban Internet gambling.

The legislator now faces a growing outcry from online gamblers against his "Act Establishing and Regulating Resort Casinos in the Commonwealth" - specifically a clause in the 28 page proposal which reads:

"Any person who knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including telephone, cellular phone, Internet, local area network, including wireless local networks, or any other similar device or equipment or other medium of communication, or knowingly installs or maintains said device or equipment for the transmission or receipt of wagering information shall be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 2 years, or a fine of not more than $25 000, or both."

The PPA picked up on the deeply buried clause, which had received little attention, and made a warning statement appealing to Massachsetts online gamblers to make their views known to their state representatives.

In the statement, PPA executive director John Pappas pointed out the irony of including anti-online gambling legislation in a pro-casino gambling bill.

The governor is already experiencing heavy opposition to the proposal, which has yet to gather significant support. One of the biggest objections relates to the validity of the plan's financial assumptions. Patrick has estimated that the three proposed resort casinos would generate 20 000 jobs and $2 billion in economic activity, but his assessment is being vigorously questioned. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Association has come forward to say that the proposal's financial assumptions are not credible; revenues are overstated and state incomes from the venture will never be realised.

Massachusetts Representative Dan Bosely, Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, typifies the toughening opposition when he says: "They're short in all of the accounts. There isn't enough for public infrastructure, mitigation, or all sorts of social ills. It's pie in the sky, and they're not going to do this."
 

SlotsWizard

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More opinions and stuff in this thread.

We have been a pioneering state in many different areas. If anything, we should be the first state to regulate and legalize online gambling. Instead, Link Removed ( Old/Invalid) wants us to join Washington and Louisiana's fight against it.
 

nielsenj

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I thought American legislators were supposed to stop attaching important bills to other bills, but this practice seems to continue. No matter what anyone may think of online casino gambling important laws should not be hidden away like this. It is morally wrong and it is also a democratic problem if such as practice continues.

Boston Globe today runs a follow up story including comments from Barney Frank:
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just play

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I'm from Mass. and don't like Deval at all. I think there was a story on him spending a lot of tax payers money on himself.

What is the big deal with online gambling?

Mass. is supposed to be opening 4 new casinos I believe.
 

SlotsWizard

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I'm from Mass. and don't like Deval at all. I think there was a story on him spending a lot of tax payers money on himself.
Hence the nickname "Cadillac Man" that I gave him (the link to an article about that debacle is in my post above).

What is the big deal with online gambling?
I wish I knew.

Mass. is supposed to be opening 4 new casinos I believe.
Just three actually. One for the Worcester and westward region (which is a pretty big region to only have 1 casino, if you ask me); another for north of Boston, and another closer to Rhode Island, if I remember correctly.
 

Mousey

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I'm from Mass. and don't like Deval at all. I think there was a story on him spending a lot of tax payers money on himself.

What is the big deal with online gambling?

Mass. is supposed to be opening 4 new casinos I believe.

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"If you were cynical about it, you'd think that they're trying to set up a monopoly for the casinos," said David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
 

jetset

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I'm from Mass. and don't like Deval at all. I think there was a story on him spending a lot of tax payers money on himself.

What is the big deal with online gambling?

Mass. is supposed to be opening 4 new casinos I believe.

And therein lies the rampant hypocrisy of the proposal - try to expand land gambling, and then insert a pretty much hidden clause banning its (potential) online gambling competition.

The more I see of politicians like this, the less I like 'em! Everywhere!
 

lojo

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I came here late, and I'm not the fray :)
 

lots0

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For some "family Values" conservatives, online gambling seems to be akin to Weapons of Mass Destruction.

But this is just political slime.

Getting your buddies land based casino all set up and legal and at the same time reducing the land based casinos competition by outlawing online casinos.

I wonder how much Patrick and his family was going to get for this "service" to the land based casinos...
 

just play

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Hence the nickname "Cadillac Man" that I gave him (the link to an article about that debacle is in my post above).


I wish I knew.


Just three actually. One for the Worcester and westward region (which is a pretty big region to only have 1 casino, if you ask me); another for north of Boston, and another closer to Rhode Island, if I remember correctly.


I thought there was supposed to be one semi close to me? Unless the north of Boston one is supposed to be the one, because the other two aren't close. I am near Springfield.
 

just play

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And therein lies the rampant hypocrisy of the proposal - try to expand land gambling, and then insert a pretty much hidden clause banning its (potential) online gambling competition.

The more I see of politicians like this, the less I like 'em! Everywhere!


The more and more I think of this, the more and more I get angry.

It's like they are taking your paycheck and telling you what to spend your money on.

Okay ma'am, today you can spend $100 on groceries, you have to pay your phone bill and electric bill, you cannot use your left over money for yourself to enjoy, because if you do, you will find yourself in jail. Unless of course you want to drive down to our new and wonderful casino, then I will permit you to use your left over money.
 

just play

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The great Town of Palmer, MA is one of them I heard.
That was one place I use to go to the bars.
Great Town


Palmer is kind of close to me. At least there will be one in this area. Not that I will go, lol, I went to Foxwoods once and didn't like it. :eek: But then again I was with a person I didn't like. Hahahahahaha
 

BingoT

Nurses love to give shots
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Hartford,Ct
See You went with the wrong person.
You go with me we are talking another story.
Yes the one in Palmer, MA is going to be close to a place I went to as a kid lol The Magic Lantern What a sleaze I was lol.
 

silkprint

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Mass
I know that the people who in the past screamed NOT to have casinos in Mass are now changing their tune for some strange reason and saying it will be good for shutins?[ would'NT ONLINE playing be better for them ] I know how I will vote . I would rather gamble online that have casinos here in Mass run by Massachusetts. We know the chances of winning on their slots will be harder than hell anyway . Just look at our taxes ! It does amaze me though that they hate online gambling so much but if you walk into any convienience store here there are over 80 instant scratch tickets for sale .
 

BingoT

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For some strange reason is.
Foxwoods
Mohegan Sun
Twin River But this one is open from 9am to 2pm
Do you know how many Buses from Mass go to all three daily LOTS
Mass has to step up to the plate and get some of that cabbage.And I don't blame them one bit.
 

jetset

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STEALTH CLAUSE ON INTERNET GAMBLING INCLUDES HEAVY FINES (Update)

Echoes of Washington State in proposed draconian penalties for Massachusetts online gambling

If Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has his way, online gamblers in the state could face jail terms of up to two years and $25 000 fines, reports the Boston Globe, which has examined the governor's latest legislative proposals in depth.

The Boston newspaper has carried incisive reportage on the bill, which seeks to expand land gambling in the state with new casinos, but includes a hypocrisy ridden and deeply buried clause that would ban online gambling and follow the Washington State example by making it a C class felony.

Patrick's proposed legislation has evoked criticism from a number of other Massachusetts politicos, including fellow Democrat and high profile pro-online gambling champion Representative Barney Frank.

Frank, who has launched legislation to regulate and license online gambling in the United States as a means of better protecting players and giving them back their right of choice voiced his reservations about the governor's bill this week when he said: "Why is gambling in a [land] casino OK and gambling on the Internet is not? He's making a big mistake. He's giving opponents an argument against him."

Governor Patrick's spokesmen have thus far failed to explain the governor's rationale for including the provision in the proposed legislation. They also declined to respond to Frank's comments.

But Kofi Jones, who spoke on behalf of the governor's chief gambling adviser, said: "Several of the provisions of the governor's proposed resort casinos bill seek to clarify the laws relating to gaming in Massachusetts, including online gaming."

Others have suggested the provision was included to make casino licenses more lucrative by preventing competition from online operators, the newspaper reported.

"If you were cynical about it, you'd think that they're trying to set up a monopoly for the casinos," the report quoted David G. Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Patrick's bill will likely not be voted on until 2008.
 

jetset

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DEVAL BILL CRITICISED BY iMEGA (Update)

Internet gambling ban "another unconstitutional infringement of Americans' digital rights."

The feisty Internet Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) has joined the growing number of critical voices against a bid to ban online gambling on pain of severe penalties in the state of Massachusetts (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The proposed legislation, which is ironically contained within a bill that seeks to expand land casino gambling in the eastern state, has been submitted by Massachusetts governor Patrick Deval but has come in for heavy flak and extensive media coverage centred on its hypocrisy and felony level penalties. The proposal will not be voted on until 2008, according to political observers.

Edward Leyden, President of iMEGA suggests that the governor holds fire until the results of iMEGA's clash with the Department of Justice over the constitutional legality of UIGEA are available.

"This past Saturday, The Boston Globe reported that casino legislation filed by Gov. Deval Patrick contained a provision to ban online gaming," said Leyden. "The proposed law, which would criminally punish conduct carried out by Massachusetts residents on the Internet, would be another unconstitutional infringement of Americans' digital civil rights.

"Currently iMEGA is embroiled with the Department of Justice in litigation in federal court over the constitutionality of the Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act, a bill that [effectively] banned most Internet gaming nationally. We believe our lawsuit will result in an affirmative recognition by a federal court of the existence of fundamental privacy and associational right to communicate and interact with others via the medium of the Internet in a manner similar to communication and interaction outside of the Internet.

"As this case makes it way through the legal system, we believe that it would be best for the Massachusetts legislature to forestall action on this provision and, if, as we expect, a preliminary injunction is issued in iMEGA v. DOJ, et al., legislators should remove this provision from the legislation."
 

jetset

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MASSACHUSETTS BILL CONTINUES TO ATTRACT FLAK

Governor's attempt to expand land gambling could stumble on Internet banning clause

The row over Massachusett governor Deval Patrick's attempt to ban online gaming whilst promoting land gambling expansion in the Bay state continued to make mainstream headlines across the United States yesterday.

The widely read daily Boston Magazine typified much of the comment when it declared it was still trying to figure out "...what the hell the governor was thinking."

The op-ed article continued: "Making it legal to play poker in buildings while making it illegal to play poker on computer screens, is beyond hypocritical, it just sounds stupid."

The magazine goes on to examine a scenario where land casino operators are made "sole overlords" of Massachusetts gambling as a means of generating bigger revenues for the state, and associates the attempted ban on Internet gaming with eliminating fair competition to the land casinos.

But it points out that Patricks casino bill faces an uphill climb, and the last thing it needs is more boulders blocking its path, "....and hypocrisy tends to be a pretty big rock."

Democrat Rep. Frank Hynes was questioned on the Internet gambling ban proposal and the severe penalties Patrick wants to impose with it. Despite maintaining that its way too early in the process to decide his final vote, Hynes sounded exceptionally miffed when discussing the online gaming clause. I mean, why do that? he said. It doesnt make a whole of sense to expand gambling and then say online gambling should be shut down.

Hynes main gripeespecially coming from the perspective of a gambling sceptic making a concerted effort to study both sideswas the lack of thought and analysis that seems to have gone into the online gambling clause, buried deep within the legislation.

Hynes told the magazine that he is of the mind that the state ought to be embracing the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act bill that Democrat Rep. Barney Frank is working through Congress, which would make online gambling legal.

By marketing online, you plug into a very easy way of capturing revenues that otherwise would be lost, said Hynes. We ought to embrace the Internet as being the new marketplace of the future, rather than prohibiting its use.

The magazine hyptothesised that if the states three new [proposed] land casinos hosted online poker games themselves, maybe even with incentives, it could work for them as well.

"Better to use the Internet than try to quash it, right? Were not China, after all," the article concludes.
 

jetset

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Update

MASSACHUSETTS GAMBLING BILL DEBATE NEXT WEEK

Governor Deval Patrick will attempt to persuade state politicians to accept casino plan

Controversial state legislative proposals to license and tax casinos in Massachusetts, including a buried protectionist clause to outlaw online gambling, are to be extensively debated by lawmakers this week.

Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino, as well as several casino executives, are expected to headline a hearing at the State House on the financial impact of the governor's casino proposal. The hearing will be the highest-profile to date on expanded gambling since the governor unveiled his proposal to license three casinos in September, reports the Boston Globe.

"The administration expects to be there in full force," said Kyle Sullivan, the governor's press secretary.

Also expected at the hearing are casino moguls Gary Loveman, the chief executive officer of Harrah's Entertainment, and Sheldon Adelson, who owns Las Vegas Sands and is the third-richest man in America.

Celebrity businessman Donald Trump, who is also interested in developing a casino in Massachusetts, declined an invitation to attend and is sending his lobbying team from Ventry Associates, led by Dennis Murphy, former state representative.

The hearing, which is before the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and State Assets, is designed to better gauge financial estimates of the casinos, so that legislators can better learn about long-range spending implications. It will provide a preview of the debate to come next year, when the bill is expected to be considered in full by a different panel, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

"This has become, at least temporarily, the big circus," said Senator Mark Montigny, a Democrat from New Bedford and co-chairman of the committee.

The hearings had been pushed by the House chairman, Representative David Flynn, a Bridgewater Democrat and longtime supporter of the state's four racetracks. Owners at three of the state's four racetracks - Wonderland Greyhound Park, Plainridge Racecourse, and Raynham Park - also plan to present a rare united front, testifying that legislators should resurrect a plan to add slot machines at their tracks.

But an informal Globe poll of all 19 members of the legislative committee that will consider Patrick's proposal showed that it would probably get a negative vote that could prove difficult to overcome.

"There's a lot of strikes against it," said Representative Barry Finegold, a Democrat from Andover and a member of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies who does not support the governor's plan to license three casinos.

"I don't think the issue is dead," he said. "But it needs a whole lot of convincing."

Interviews with members of the influential panel present a microcosm of the debate that is taking place on Beacon Hill and illustrate the large hurdles Patrick faces, chief among them House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.

Twelve members of the committee said they are inclined to vote against the proposal, unless wholesale changes are made, such as reducing the number of casinos in the plan, giving more gambling proceeds to cities and towns, or allowing the state's racetracks to add slot machines. Three members said they are leaning in favor of the proposal. Four said they are on the fence.

Patrick's administration said it has been speaking with legislators, but most of those on the committee said they have not been contacted by the governor on the issue.

The governor's legislation, which was filed in October, would license one resort casino in Western Massachusetts, Southeastern Massachusetts, and metropolitan Boston. Patrick says each casino could generate $200 million to $300 million in licensing fees every 10 years. He is also counting on another $400 million a year for state coffers, gambling revenue that he would use for property tax relief and roads and bridges.

Proponents of the proposal argue that the state needs new sources of revenue. They also cite the amount of money Massachusetts residents are spending at neighbouring Connecticut casinos.

Committee members against the idea cited several reasons, saying they do not trust the revenue estimates supplied by the Patrick administration, which did not conduct an independent study and has provided little explanation of how it arrived at its numbers. They also argued some local businesses and resort communities would be negatively affected by the competition from casinos.
 

jetset

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SELECTIVE MORALITY IN MASSACHUSETTS

Ban online gambling, but expand state lotto sales and launch land casinos

Network World took a swipe at the selective and hypocritical morality of Massachusetts politicians this week with an op-ed article reporting on the intended expansion of state lottery outlets to the doughnut-and-coffee shop sector.

"You can't play online poker, but go ahead and gamble in Dunkin' Donuts," reads the headline on the piece, which summarises Governor Deval Patrick's attempts to introduce three land casino operations to the state whilst banning any possibility of competition from online gambling. Meanwhile, state lottery officials are looking for bigger and better ways to increase lottery sales.

The Herald story reports that although the plan is in its preliminary stages, state lottery officials have confirmed they have already spoken to Dunkin Donuts and are drawing closer to a deal with CVS, which has begun selling scratch tickets in California.

These are very successful businesses and we would like to partner with them, said Dan Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the state lottery. The more agents we have, the more (tickets) we can sell.

Network World points out that while this is going on, Governor Patrick is "....rattling cell keys at the online poker crowd and....the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission our officially blessed, multibillion gambling behemoth is taking yet additional steps to ensure that residents here cannot step outside of their homes without tripping over a game of chance. Not content with the current status of a lottery outlet in every greasy spoon, watering hole, liquor store and Seven-11, the states gung-ho gambling purveyors are now targeting donut shops, drug stores and home-improvement centers such as Home Depot."

The article is not against gambling per se, but the hypocrisy is noted: "The state bullying poker players on one hand while squeezing every last dollar out of the proletariat with the other cheeses me off. And, having to drive to Connecticut to play poker on Friday instead of staying nearby or here at my PC really cheeses me off," the article ends.

"Would you like a lottery ticket with that latte?"
 

jetset

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Update

MASSACHUSETTS CASINO PROGRAM RE-ENERGISED

Governor Deval Patrick hits the ground running as 2008 opens

Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick is re-energising his controversial campaign to obtain legislative support for three land casinos for the state. Online gamblers are perturbed by a buried clause in the proposed legislation that seeks to ban online gambling in what is seen as a protectionist measure for the proposed new land gambling venues.

This week Governor Patrick was ramping up efforts to pass his casino gambling bill, appealing to labour unions, mayors and other would-be beneficiaries to pressure state lawmakers, and hoping election year politics will help the cause, reports the Boston Globe.

The Democratic governor held strategy sessions with his top advisers in the first days of the new year, leading to the planning of several events around the state.

"Everyone is energized," said Rep. Brian Wallace, a Boston Democrat who is a key Patrick ally on casinos. "Before, it was on the backburner." The discussion among union and land gambling industry representatives is whether to create a formal coalition that would pay for television and radio advertisements, he revealed.

Patrick's proposal, which he claims will raise $400 million a year in additional tax revenues, has evoked strong debate in the state legislature and the media. House lawmakers two years ago rejected a bill to expand legalised gambling, and many representatives remain opposed to casinos, saying the move will alter the cultural and intellectual character of Massachusetts.

Labor unions have been among the strongest supporters of the bill because Patrick estimates that three casinos have the potential to create 30 000 temporary construction jobs and 20 000 permanent jobs. Tens of thousands of union workers across the state can be mobilised to lobby lawmakers, who ignore constituents at their peril in an election year, the newspaper speculates.

Governor Patrick plans to begin meeting with individual House members in a strategy similar to the campaign that took place last year when he and others took a personal interest in preserving gay marriage. Another part of the strategy, lawmakers said, is to persuade mayors and other local elected leaders to pressure undecided legislators.

Among the industry heavyweights showing an interest in building a casino in Massachusetts are Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp., Gary Loveman of Harrah's Entertainment Inc., Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd., and Atlantic City mogul Donald Trump. All four of the racetracks in Massachusetts also want to bid.

Patrick's bill calls for a minimum investment of $1 billion, and would site a casino in each of three regions: the Boston area, southeastern Massachusetts, and western/central Massachusetts.

The governor says Massachusetts residents spend about $900 million annually at neighbouring Connecticut's two casinos. His bill calls for net revenue to be split between fixing roads and bridges and property tax credits for homeowners.

Another argument in favour of casinos is that the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe will soon be able to open a gambling facility. The tribe has applied for federal approval to use land in Middleborough for a casino. Under that scenario, the state could be shut out of any revenues.
 

jetset

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Update

BATTLE OF THE ANALYSTS

Who's statistics are right in Massachusetts land casino debate?

The ongoing fierce debate for and against the building of three major land casinos in Massachusetts entered a new phase this week as rival analyst studies started to play a role.

Governor Deval Patrick's projection that the introduction of the casinos would create 30 000 construction jobs in the state is the latest number to come under the microscope following a newspaper study through an independent economics specialist, with House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, an opponent of the casinos, claiming that the governor's figures are clearly losing credibility.

The Speaker was basing his criticism on a study commissioned by the Boston Globe newspaper comparing Patrick's assumptions with other New England casinos and an industry standard. The newspaper reported that Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics for Moody's Economy.com said building three casinos at a cost of $1 billion each in Massachusetts would create a total of 4 000 to 5 000 new construction jobs - not 30 000.

Even a group representing building trade unions - Patrick's major ally in the casino debate - said Patrick's projection was 10 000 jobs too high.

The Governor's economic development secretary said in response that the administration had "confidence in our casino job projections and have hired an independent third-party firm with extensive expertise in the gaming industry to provide an analysis of the governor's plan." This was a reference to the recent engagement by the Governor of Spectrum Gaming of New Jersey - the only group to respond to a tender for a study.

The firm is being paid $189 000 by the state to analyse the governor's plan to license three casinos in Massachusetts and is expected to complete its study within two to three months (see previous InfoPowa report).

Meanwhile, pressure group Casino Free Mass, a coalition of organisations opposed to casinos, called on Patrick to rescind the contract, alleging that the organisation is biased.

In the statement Monday, DiMasi criticised the Patrick administration.

"It seems like we have a proposal where no tough questions were even asked - let alone answered," DiMasi said. "The Governor clearly has the burden of convincing the Legislature that this casino plan should be adopted. So far, the case has not been made, the evidence isn't there and the Governors arguments for casinos are clearly losing credibility."
 

jetset

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Update

MASS. GOVERNOR SIDESTEPS HOUSE SPEAKER

And holds meetings with tribal gambling aspirants, too

The increasingly bitter feuding in the Massachusetts state legislature over Governor Deval Patrick's intention to introduce land casinos to raise state revenue levels continued as the week progressed following surveys that cast doubt on the Governor's employment predictions (see previous InfoPowa report)

The issue is being following closely by online gambling observers because Governor Patrick's bill includes a clause that would seek to ban online gambling in the state, making players liable to punitive sentences of 2 years in the house of correction, a fine of $25 000, or both. Ironically, Patrick's H.4307 is pro-casino gambling legislation, yet it makes Internet gaming a crime.

This week Patrick further raised the ire of his chief critic, House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, by writing directly to all the members of DiMasi's chamber. He criticised their leader for blasting his proposal to license three resort-style casinos after the revelation it might not create the 30 000 construction jobs Patrick had estimated.

Arguing that the "speaker's alternative" was zero jobs, Patrick wrote: "At a time of economic uncertainty, we must be proactive about proposing ideas and reforms that boost economic activity and create jobs. Attacking ideas without proposing sound alternatives is not good economic policy, nor what the public expects or deserves." He did, however, revise his employment numbers downward by 10 000 jobs.

DiMasi spokesman David Guarino said in response: "It's understandable that the governor is concerned since his numbers don't add up and he is losing credibility on this issue."

Meanwhile, aides to Governor Patrick huddled with members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe on Tuesday as they sought common ground over plans to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts.

The tribe has expressed interest in applying for one of the Massachusetts casino licenses, but it presently is seeking federal recognition to build its own casino on a 540-acre site it has secured in Middleborough. Patrick has filed a challenge to the tribe's application, which could slow down the federal process, although administration officials are hoping the two sides can work together.

Among those attending the meeting were Dan O'Connell, secretary of economic development, and Shawn Hendricks, the tribe's chairman.

Afterward, Hendricks said the tribe would continue to work with the state but he ultimately thought the two sides would merge their efforts.
 

jetset

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Update

MASS. CASINO DISPUTE LATEST (Update)

Another study tabled

The "Battle of the Analysts" continued this week in Boston, where state governor Deval Patrick and House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi remain locked in acrimonious dispute over the desirability of introducing 3 new billion dollar land casinos to boost revenues and employment.

The latest organisation to table an estimate is the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and it seems to support many of the economic assumptions outlined by Patrick in his much challenged proposal to build three resort-style casinos in Massachusetts.

In the report released Thursday, the chamber says that by 2012 the casinos would generate up to $2.3 billion in gross revenues per year, leaving the state with up to $429 million in tax revenue.

The study also found the casinos would create up to 21 000 permanent jobs and up to 11 500 construction jobs, reports the Boston Globe newspaper.

While Patrick has been criticised for estimating the construction jobs at 30 000, the study bears out his projection of 20 000 permanent jobs and $400 million in annual state revenue.

The report looked at demand for casino gaming and tax revenues generated by casinos and created projections based on that analysis. Massachusetts is facing an existing $1.3 billion budget deficit, cities and towns are saying they don't have enough money for basic services and job creation is the focus of everyone from government leaders to chamber of commerce officials.

Casino gambling could address some of those problems, but critics argue it could create more of its own.

Thus far the proposed online gambling ban with punitive sanctions tucked away in a section of Patrick's proposal does not appear to have become a major issue.

Come March 18, the decision will probably be made. The Joint Committee on Economic Development has scheduled a hearing on Patrick's proposal, and Speaker DiMasi said this past week he plans an up-or-down vote before the House completes budget deliberations in April.

That may explain the escalating intensity and devolving rhetoric among state politicos.
 
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