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Whitco

Senate taking on casino legislation


Sturbridge officials among those expressing concern


May 04, 2010
With the state Senate poised to begin work on their own casino gaming bill, local officials are doing what they can to make sure the bill considers — and addresses — public impact.

The House of Representatives passed a bill in early April containing provisions to allow slot machine licenses for the four Massachusetts racetracks, and two additional resort casino licenses for locations in the commonwealth that, according to the House bill, would be determined later by a yet-to-be established gaming commission.

Now it is the Senate's turn to address the same issue and constituents across Massachusetts are calling on their senators to draft a bill that puts the impact of a resort casino on surrounding municipalities under heavier scrutiny.

"There's a lot of senators paying attention, trying to get it right," said state Sen. Stephen Brewer, D-Barre. "The Senate really wants to put together a document that they can be proud of."

The House bill, which passed with a resounding 120-37 vote, fell short of many people's expectations of what a comprehensive bill should be.

Chairman of the Brimfield Board of Selectmen Diane Panaccione, who sits on both the Brimfield and Western Massachusetts Casino Task Forces, said the Western Massachusetts organization drafted five amendments to the House submitted via state Rep. Todd Smola, R-Palmer. None were accepted into the bill.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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