News that the House and the Senate have brought out of committee on Beacon Hill an expanded gaming bill that will allow for three casinos and one racino is good news for Chelsea and for all the cities and towns in the Commonwealth.
News that Governor Deval Patrick said he is in agreement with the legislation and will support it seals the deal.
Casinos here, and most likely one at Suffolk Downs in neighboring Revere/East Boston, will cause a mandatory investment of $500 million to be made there, according to the specifics of the bill.
In addition, the casino owner will have to pay a minimum one time payment for the right to be there of at least $85 million and to pay as well a $1.5 million application fee.
Once everything is approved by the soon to be empowered Gambling Commission, referendums will be held in host communities, architects plans will be drawn up, and the business plan will be revealed by the potential casino owner.
Bottom line, all of this will be accomplished with private money raised from private sources. There is not one penny of government money involved.
The casino ventures will absolutely, positively, jumpstart local economies wherever they are ultimately located.
The bill even provides that once the right to operate a casino has been given, the owner has one year in which to be officially open for business.
In the broadest sense, this means that thousands of jobs are going to be created in the short term, that hundreds of skilled laborers and tradesmen will be hired for the construction project and that millions upon millions of dollars will be spent buying cement, lumber, nails, windows, insulation and every kind of building product known under the sun.
And when the infrastructure is finished, then comes the hotel to be built and furnished and staffed as well as the casino itself and the numerous other businesses that will become a part of the casino community likely to arise at Suffolk Downs.
What does this mean for Chelsea?
It means a job pool for Chelsea residents to become part of.
It means the unemployed will have a better chance to be employed.
It means the local economy will benefit from added revenues generated by the casino and taxes paid and some of that money sent back to the cities and towns.
Casino gambling is not panacea. In a perfect world, there would be no gambling or casinos.
But this isn’t a perfect world.
No one is forced to go into a casino any more than people are forced to buy Scratch Tickets or Lottery numbers.
We applaud the work of the Legislature, and especially of Speaker DeLeo and Governor Patrick – who are great friends of this city.
Casinos in Massachusetts will cause an economic boost.