Mass. House Gears Up For Casino Debate

The long-anticipated casino gambling bill finally goes before Massachusetts House lawmakers Wednesday, after House and Senate leaders, along with Gov. Deval Patrick, worked out details in private over the summer.

A similar bill was approved by the Legislature last year, but was derailed when the governor opposed a provision to allow slot parlors at all four of the state’s existing racetracks. That difference has since been worked out, with this year’s bill only allowing a single slot parlor, as well as three resort-style casinos — one in each of three regions around the state.

Easy passage of the legislation is ultimately expected, since several of the most vocal opponents of casino gambling who took part in the debate last year are no longer in the Legislature.

There could be lengthy debate in the House, however, after 154 amendments were added to the bill.

Chicopee Rep. Joseph Wagner said a last-minute caucus meeting Tuesday was to help each other learn about the amendments.

“Community mitigation, there’s one amendment that relates to creating a compact between the commonwealth and a Native American tribe, there are amendments about women and minority-owned businesses,” Wagner listed.

With reporting by WBUR’s Steve Brown and Pippin Ross for WBUR

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