We are pleased that the Globe acknowledges in its recent editorial that Plainridge Park Casino is a model gaming operation in the state (“A bad bet for Massachusetts: More casino gambling,” March 27). We could not agree more, and as legislators representing the region that hosts Plainridge, we have seen firsthand the benefits that have accrued from the hundreds of jobs created and the $300 million in tax revenue generated for Massachusetts since it opened.
The Globe is also correct to raise concerns relative to oversaturation in New England with respect to the siting of additional resort casinos. There is, however, an elegant solution that would result in a notable boon to the Massachusetts economy, while protecting jobs and revenues, without fear of saturating the market.
The legislation we propose does not create an additional Category 1 resort-style facility, nor does it grant Plainridge automatic expansion rights. Rather, it would allow the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, at its discretion, to consider and authorize a modest, strategic expansion to protect and preserve Massachusetts jobs and tax revenues. The bill also would require local approval of any proposed expansion before the Gaming Commission could make a decision.
As the Globe indicated, the commission is capable of regulating and administering the gaming industry, including potential expansions. It is important to pass this bill now, given recent casino expansion in Rhode Island competing with the Commonwealth’s nascent gaming revenues.
This letter was cosigned by Senator Paul Feeney and Representatives Jeffrey Roy, Elizabeth Poirier, F. Jay Barrows, Steven Howitt, and James Hawkins.