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Slots Issues in Massachusetts. 2005-09-28
The Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will hold a hearing to discuss more than 20 bills related to gambling or the state Lottery. There is no specific bill scheduled about slots in particular, but lawmakers are expecting the topic to come up.
Legislators such as Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, D-Lowell, said the state cannot turn its back on the potential revenue. Revenues are quite high from slot machines everywhere else, which would mean $1 billion generated by the state Lotto. Even the racetracks have something major to contribute to the area. Other than Suffolk Downs, on the East Boston-Revere line, the state has three other racetracks such as; Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere, Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park in Taunton, and the Plainridge harness track in Plainville. But some legislators say slot machines could make the state susceptible to problems, such as; social issues associated with gambling addictions, and financial difficulties.
Sen. Susan Tucker, D-Andover, believes expanding gaming in the state could aggravate health including; drunken driving, homelessness and suicide. Tucker believes that residents would have to gamble and lose $2 billion for the state to turn a profit of $400 million on slots. She plans to hold a forum about gaming during the committee hearing. Tucker has co-sponsored a bill to limit Lottery promotion.
Panagiotakos said the horse- and dog-racing industry will slowly fade away if slot machines are not allowed, leading to the loss of jobs. Tom White of Sullivan Printing in Lowell said his company would lose employees if the racetracks would close. Dog and horse racing in Massachusetts is already suffering.
(By Andrea)