Massachusetts Approves Casino Gambling

Suffolk Downs near Boston is expected to bid for one of the gaming licenses.

The Massachusetts legislature Nov. 16 passed a bill authorizing casinos in the state, and Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to sign it.

The legislation calls for three resort-style casinos and one facility with slot machines only. Suffolk Downs, the only operating Thoroughbred racetrack in New England, is expected to bid for a full casino license.

The bill came about after a last-minute compromise, lawmakers said. The vote in the House of Representatives was 118-33; the vote in the Senate was 23-14, according to published reports.

Suffolk Downs chief operating officer Chip Tuttle in comments made through Twitter Nov. 17 called it a “big day for Suffolk Downs workers, the community, and horsemen, but there is still lots of work to do.”

Under the legislation bids for a full casino license will start at $85 million, while bids for the slots parlor will start at $25 million. No racing facilities in the state are guaranteed a license, though Suffolk Downs, because of its location near Boston, is considered a front-runner.