The simulcasting signal bill signed into law by outgoing Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney should provide the state's racetracks some needed stability for an industry struggling with competition from racinos and casinos in adjoining stakes, track officials agree.
At a March 20 statehouse rally in Boston, hundreds of local horsemen, track employees, city mayors, and labor leaders pressed lawmakers for action on a proposal that would add 2,000 slot machines at each of the state's four pari-mutuel facilities.
The Massachusetts Senate voted 26-9 Oct. 6 to pass a bill allowing 2,000 slots machines at each of the state's four pari-mutuel tracks, including its major Thoroughbred facility, Suffolk Downs.
Led by a united New England Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association, and with the support of workers and officials at Suffolk Downs, the Massachusetts horse racing industry cancelled the live Sept. 28 card at the East Boston racetrack.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he would veto any legislation seeking to expand gambling in the state. The stance marks a significant change in position since Romney's election to office in 2002.
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