- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Anti-casino activists are calling on lawmakers to exclude about $73 million in casino licensing and slot parlor revenues in the state budget they are set to finalize this week.

Repeal the Casino Deal chairman John Ribeiro, in a statement Monday, said the “phantom” revenue won’t exist if voters repeal the casino law in November.

The state’s high court last week cleared the way for a voter referendum on the state’s 2011 casino law, which authorized the licensing of up to three casinos and one slot parlor in Massachusetts.

A $36.5 billion House-Senate compromise budget reached over the weekend includes about $53 million in casino-related revenues and $20 million in slot revenues.

The $20 million represents how much profit the state expects from Penn National Gaming once its slot parlor at the Plainridge harness racing track opens in 2015, according to state officials. The $53 million in casino revenues represents what lawmakers plan to budget from payments by MGM Resorts International, which this month was awarded the state’s first casino license for a proposed $800 million development in Springfield.

The Las Vegas-based casino giant must pay the state an $85 million licensing fee. But some $30 million of that fee is already earmarked for other state-related costs, officials said. And under an agreement reached with the state Gaming Commission, MGM does not have to pay the fee unless the casino repeal question is defeated by voters in November.

Lawmakers are due to vote on the budget bill on Monday. The fiscal year starts Tuesday.

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