What a difference a year makes when it comes to gambling expansion in the state of Massachusetts. Or perhaps I should say, what a difference a year, a poor economy, and heated competition makes when it comes to gambling expansion.
As it stands now, the bill to bring three casinos and a slot parlor to Massachusetts has steamrolled through, gaining enough momentum and support to easily advance through the Legislature’s economic development committee.
This year’s gambling expansion bill, unlike previous years, is being backed by members of both the House and Senate committees, including a preliminary nod from the governor.
There’s certainly reason for optimism that the bill will pass. To begin with, the hurdles that tripped up the bid for expanded gambling last session aren’t as high. Thirteen of the committee’s 21 members have already voted in favor of the plan, including unanimous support from members of the Senate.
Last session, the House and Senate tried to back a bill that no one agreed on, including Gov. Deval Patrick.
Senate support may have grown for expanded gambling particularly with the departure of Susan Tucker one of gambling expansion’s most vocal opponents.
Right now the agreement across both branches, and the supportive tone struck by Gov. Deval Patrick is giving gambling proponents every reason to feel optimistic.