Our State Senator Anthony Petruccelli has filed legislation that provides for an expanded gambling bill that the Senate would likely pass and which he would like to place on the governor’s desk in a matter of weeks.
Our Representative Carlo Basile has co-sponsored the bill. He is right to do so.
Speed is of the essence, says Senator Petruccelli – and he is right.
The Senate is ready to go.
Governor Deval Patrick has said he is ready to go if his demands are met as long as no-bid contracts for racinos are not part of the bill.
Senator Petruccelli’s bill provides for three casino licenses to be made available and to be bid on as well as one racino license to be made available and to bid on as well.
With time of the essence, this bill must be brought up for debate in the Senate and the House and passed, and then walked over to the governor’s office for his expected signature in a matter of weeks without rancor, without endless haggling and without wasting any more time.
This is what Senator Petruccelli wants. This is what the governor wants. This is what the vast majority of people in the state would like to see happen.
This is what we all believe Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo wants.
Senator Petruccelli views the expanded gambling bill as a jobs bill and a new tax revenue bill.
His bill would be both.
His bill creates a five man gaming commission that will be the awarding authority for the three casino licenses.
All the licenses must be bid for in a public process.
Each license will be granted for a one time $75 million fee.
That’s an immediate $300 million for the state treasury.
One racino license will bring in a $25 million fee.
The casinos will pay a 25 percent tax on all the gambling revenue generated by the three casinos.
The racino will pay 40 percent of its gambling revenue as tax.
A conservative estimate by industry experts predicts the state would generate an additional $100-$200 million in new gambling tax revenues in the first year.
Only the House remains a question mark, a stumbling block although Speaker Robert DeLeo and the governor have apparently been talking. They are believed to have come closer to agreement than they were last year when the expanded gambling bill died a sorry death because the governor wouldn’t allow for racino licenses to be given out without a bid.
Senator Petruccelli’s bill is essentially a job creation, private capital investment bill.
There is no public money, no deals of any kind for potential bidders, suitable requisite components that an expanded gambling bill needs and more importantly, Senator Petruccelli and Representative Basile are ready to move forward tomorrow if the House leadership is willing to follow them or to take the lead.
Senator Petruccelli says the time is now.
He is absolutely right.