High court declines to hear Aquinnah gaming case
By Ethan Genter
Posted Jan 8, 2018
|Crosby to lawmakers: Give me the power to save horse racing|
Gaming Commission chairman Stephen Crosby really doesn’t want to give up that multimillion-dollar state horse-racing fund. From SHNS’s Colin Young: “The chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission pressed lawmakers Tuesday to give the commission the ability to restructure oversight of the horse racing industry in hopes of a sparking a revitalization. While standardbred racing has seen a resurgence tied to the slots parlor in Plainville, Thoroughbred racing is near its all-time low in Massachusetts.”SHNS (pay wall)
|MGM reassures nervous Springfield after it unveils plan for $675M casino in Bridgeport, Conn.|
In a major escalation of the ongoing casino war in southwestern New England, MGM Resorts announced yesterday ambitious plans for a new $675 million waterfront casino in Bridgeport, Conn., halfway between New York and New Haven and 80 miles south of Springfield, Mass., where MGM is building a $950 million casino in the city’s downtown. The Hartford Courant has the details. It’s just the latest development in the ongoing battle between MGM, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, which, it should be noted, has its own proposal for a new casino in East Windsor, Conn., just across the border from Springfield.
In Springfield, Mayor Domenic Sarno said he’s spoken to MGM CEO James Murren and has been assured that the company remains focused on building a "very successful and robust" casino in Springfield, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive. But how successful and robust, with so many current and planned casinos in the region, is the question.Hartford Courant
|Casinos’ last-call perk has its share of critics|
Public safety officials and casino opponents are among those sounding warnings after the state budget process resulted in the state’s future casinos being able to request the right to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., then start serving again at 8 a.m. Local bars and restaurants say the carve-out puts them at a competitive disadvantage. Dan Atkinson and Jordan Graham of the Herald have more.Boston Herald
|Interesting budget tidbits: 4 a.m. liquor hours for casinos and T pension transfer|
Gov. Baker yesterday signed, amended or rejected a number of policy riders within the state budget, two of which caught our attention, via the Globe: “Baker approved language, sought by the casino industry, to extend alcohol service at the gambling palaces until 4 a.m., two hours past what is permitted at the latest-serving restaurants and bars. Baker’s budget message also includes authorization for the state to transfer control of the MBTA employees pension fund into the state’s general pension program, a measure lawmakers have rejected previously.”
EXPANDED FREE ALCOHOL IS NOT ''another little change'!
Massachusetts has only Plainridge Slot Barn open at this time and already CHANGES?
How many DRUNKS do you want on the road?
Masachusetts is unable to reduce ALCOHOL RELATED fatalities now.
Reported by MASSterlist 04/14/2017:
Conn. ended push for 24-hour bars at casinos after crash
State had hoped to collect more slot machine profits
By Gregory B. Hladky
HARTFORD - Officials looking to help solve Connecticut's multibillion-dollar deficit thought they had found an easy way to raise another $5 million a year: allow casinos to serve alcohol 24 hours a day.
More hours of bar service would mean more gambling, they figured, which would mean the state could collect more slot machine profits.
But the proposal by Governor M. Jodi Rell's administration came to a sudden end at about 3:30 a.m. on March 7, when a car leaving the Mohegan Sun casino turned the wrong way down Interstate 395, headlights off, and slammed into a van full of college students on their way to Logan International Airport. They were scheduled for a flight to Uganda, where they had plans to help out at an orphan age over spring break.
Elizabeth Durante, a 20-year-old pre-med student at Connecticut College in New London, was killed.
The car's driver, Daniel E. Musser, 24, a sailor from the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, was charged with manslaughter and driving under the influence and faces up to 19 years in prison.
The next day, Rell called Durante's death "an unconscionable tragedy" and pulled back her budget proposal to make alcohol available 24 hours at the casinos.
"Even though this accident occurred under the laws as they have been for many years, the governor said it does give one pause to question the wisdom of extending liquor service hours at the casinos," Christopher Cooper, Rell spokesman, said recently. "We don't believe the bill is going to move forward this session."
Chuck Bunnell, chief of staff for the Mohegan Tribal Council, agreed.
"The Tribal Council in general has taken the position that it's time to pause and mourn the loss of this very bright light of humanity," Bunnell said, "that it's not appropriate to have those discussions right now."
Bunnell said the tribe was originally "approached on a bipartisan basis" by lawmakers looking for ways to increase state revenue.
Lori A. Potter, a spokeswoman for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, said analysts at the tribe's Foxwoods Resort Casino stand by their prediction that extending casino bar hours would result in an increase in state revenue.
"It is important to note that it would be impossible to find a more heavily regulated serving establishment in the state of Connecticut than the two casinos," Potter said.
Connecticut law requires the casinos' bars to stop serving by 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and by 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. One of the arguments originally used in favor of allowing longer serving hours was that their competitors in Atlantic City serve alcohol 24 hours a day.
Legal hours for bars to serve alcohol vary greatly across the United States, according to Steven Schmidt, vice president for public policy at the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.
In Massachusetts, for example, state law allows service until 11 p.m., but local governing bodies can extend the hours to 2 a.m. In states such as New Jersey and Nevada, Schmidt said, local authorities are allowed to set bar closing hours.
Charles H. Gartman, one of the students with Durante in the van that night, has difficulty understanding why anyone thought round-the-clock liquor at the casinos was a good idea.
"Twenty-four-hour bar service is a little bit ridiculous," Gartman said last week in a phone interview from his New York City home. "You can't trust everyone to drink and drive safely."
Gartman, 19 and a sophomore at Connecticut College, has not yet recovered from injuries he suffered in the crash.
The five other passengers also suffered injuries, some minor.
"Both my legs were pretty banged up, and at first I couldn't walk," he said. "I have pretty severe lacerations on my chin."
Nor has he recovered from the loss of Durante, of West Islip, N.Y. Gartman said it was Durante who got him interested in going to Uganda to aid orphaned children. "It was her enthusiasm for helping people," he recalled.
Stephanie Hinman, who was Durante's roommate and one of the students on the Uganda trip, finds it ironic that her friend would die at the hands of an accused drunk driver.
"Neither Liz nor I ever drank," Hinman said from her home in Norfolk, Conn.
"We lived together in the substance-free dorm."
In a 2007 interview with a college publication, Durante said she wanted to become a surgeon and work in Africa with Doctors Without Borders.
For Janice Heggie Margolis, executive director of the Connecticut chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Durante's death provided tragic evidence of why casino liquor hours should never be expanded.
She said the potential price to society of more fatal crashes is simply too high, no matter how much money might flow to the state. "This is exactly the reason why," Heggie Margolis said.
"You can never put on paper the cost of a life."