A hearing is scheduled to take place today that was brought on by the House and the Senate. Although both sides sponsored the meeting only House members will be in attendance.
The meeting will be an open debate with specialists speaking on the social dangers of gambling. Many senators believe this move was made because Governor Deval Patrick filed his bill on October 11th. They see it as an unfair situation towards the senator to be discussing the dangers of gambling when they agree with the senator’s bill to license three resort casinos around Massachusetts.
“If you’re going to give the guy a fair shake, you should schedule a hearing on the casino bill and then, if necessary, ask other committees to hold hearings,” said Senator Michael W. Morrissey, Democrat of Quincy and a casino proponent. “Have the governor’s bill up first and go from there.”
Salvatore F. DiMasi, House Speaker, has stated hearings on the full bill will not take place until sometime next year. A spokesman for the House Speaker stated that the hearing today will be one of many to examine the aspects of the bill. “The governor has proposed opening the door to a casino culture in the Commonwealth,” he said. “We think it’s imperative to look at what that will really mean, warts and all.”
The House will be discussing many different aspects during the meeting. They will go over social cost, economics and state lottery effects. Patrick has stated that he knows that the gambling plan will have a social cost of bankruptcies and addiction. He said the cost of those aspects would be outweighed by the benefits the state would receive.
Patrick’s administration will be sending an official to discuss their views while casino opponents Rep. Ruth B. Balser and Rep. Daniel E. Bosley will be presiding the meeting. There will also be attendees from the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Rep. Balser has stated that she is not trying to shoot down Patrick’s casino plan before it has a hearing. Patrick has not issued a response to the suggestions by certain senators that the House is being unfair.
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