CASINO

Massachusetts lobbyist spending trebles over five years

TAGs: lobbyists, Massachusetts

boston maMoney spent on lobbyists in Massachusetts topped $11.4million over the past five years as casino business interests all over North America pushed for a bill to go through. The efforts were rewarded when Governor Devel Patrick approved the bill. The figure of $3.1m spent in 2011 dwarfed the $1.3m forked out in 2007. The highest bill belonged to Suffolk Downs owner Sterling Suffolk Racecourse. They spent $2.8m between 2007 and 2011 with the next highest spenders, Steve Wynn subsidiary Development Associates LLC, handing out $863,000 to lobbyists. After that came the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s $850k bill, Las Vegas Sands Corp’s $473k and Penn National Gaming laying out $197,000. The lowest outlay came from MGM Resorts International who decided $60k was more than enough.

The figures were reported by the Associated Press (AP) and in the same article William Mulrow, chairman of the board at Suffolk Downs, defended the lavish lobbying spend.

“Suffolk Downs continues to work with community groups, neighbors and others to answer questions and provide information on how a world-class resort casino here would create thousands of jobs, boost the local economy and invest in local transportation improvements,” Mulrow said.

Suffolk Downs’ horsetrack is the location that Caesars chairman Gary Loveman identified as the place they want to construct in Mass. The firm, which would rather spend money in the US than Asia, was likely behind at least part of the lobbying fee that was over three times more than any other company. It just goes to show the huge reliance Caesars has on the US market and makes you question the choice to have no premises in Macau or Singapore or Manila.

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