H 3702, a bill to aimed at expanded gambling within the Commonwealth, passed 123 to 32 on Wednesday night, with one of the “yes” votes coming from Westford state representative James Arciero.
While Arciero (D-Westford) told Westford Patch the bill didn't have his complete confidence, he claimed that his support was based mainly on revenue retention and creating new jobs: both at the potential gaming destinations, as well as construction and indirect jobs that would arise near the destinations.
"One of the major reasons I supported the gaming proposal is that we have to look at the fact that 30 to 45 percent of the revenues at Foxwoods are coming from Massachusetts, so I look at this as retaining revenue, and that we're looking at an estimated 15,000 jobs over the next five years through this proposal," said Arciero.
If the bill becomes law, the Commonwealth will be empowered to grant a license for a slot machine facility and three full resort casino facilities: one in northeast/central Massachusetts (Middlesex, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, or Worcester counties), one in southeastern Massachusetts (Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes or Nantucket counties) and one in western Massachusetts (Hampshire, Hamden, Berkshire, and Franklin counties)
In addition to obtaining local support, applicants for the slot licenses would be required to provide a fee of $25 million and prove they could invest a further $125 million while the resort licenses would require a fee of $85 million and proof of a further $500 million investment.
40 percent of the total gross gaming revenues from the slot machine facility and 25 percent of the total gross gaming revenues from the resort facilities would go back to local aid.
Arciero, who also represents Littleton and portions of Chelmsford in the legislature, also introduced one of the 154 amendments proposed alongside the bill at the request from a local constituent regarding income tax deductions on gaming losses.
The amendment, along approximately two thirds of the amendments, was not adopted onto the final bill, which was the 115th roll call vote so far in the session.
The final bill will now go before the Senate.
Here's a list of how those representing towns neighboring Westford voted.
Vote on H 3702
Chelmsford, Carlisle, Acton
Acton, Boxborough, Shirley, Harvard, Lunenburg, Lancaster
Thomas Golden Jr.
Ayer, Groton, Dunstable, Pepperell