Governor Deval L. Patrick
Gaming Bill Signing – As Delivered
Governor’s Council Chambers
November 22, 2011
I just signed a law that allows for expanding gaming in Massachusetts. There has been a lot of talk, a lot of talk about this bill. A series of public hearings, meetings, debates, commentary over the last several years. I'm just going to take a minute before I sign and give you my take on this bill and on everything else, or a lot, that's been happening over the course of developing this bill.
Expanded gaming in Massachusetts, for me, is about creating jobs: good jobs and good wages for people all across the Commonwealth. It's really, for me, as simple as that. It's not the solution to every economic challenge we face and it won't be the cause of every social ill that we in this Commonwealth together have to deal with. I've never had a moral objection to gaming. We have a successful lottery in Massachusetts. Most of our residents currently live within 90 miles of a gaming facility. Gaming is already an option for people who want it. I respect those who do have a moral objection, but I am not one of them. For me, the fundamental question has always been "What's the best way for us to expand gaming in Massachusetts if we decide to go in this direction?"
I don't have to tell you that we are proudly independent here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. What works somewhere else won't necessarily work here. I think all of those who have been involved in developing this bill have given it a great deal of thought to how best to do that here. The key principles that I wanted to see here in this bill are transparency in the bidding process, regional equity, local control over siting of the facility and commitments to public health and public safety and this bill responds to each of those concerns.
I know that not everyone agrees with me on this issue, and I say that I respect that, but I have come to my position thoughtfully and carefully and I am pleased to sign this bill today and proud of the work that my team and the legislature have done together to bring it to this point. I especially want to congratulate the Speaker and all of the members of the House, the Senate President and all of the members of the Senate for the care and thoughtfulness with which they have debated this issue for a long, long time. And now the work will turn to getting it right in implementation and we all have good work and important work to do in that regard.