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Massachusetts Legislators Dismisses Slots Bill for Fraternal Groups

For the 3rd consecutive year, Massachusetts state lawmakers did not approve a bill that would have permit fraternal organizations like the American Legion utilize in-house slot machines as a fundraising equipment on April 23rd, 2010.

A 1987 state law gives all nine counties in the Shore the chance to use the slot machines for fundraising, but at the time, Worcester County officials decided to opt off the list. The failed proposal would have place Worcester back onto the list.

Del. Jim Mathias said that both himself and Chairman Conway tried throughout the evening to find a common ground and unfortunately that did not happen. Mathias said that the clock struck 12:00 midnight and the bill expired. He said that he is very disappointed for the clubs and all the work that they have put into it and the non-profit organizations that would have benefited from the machines.

Supported by Lower Shore delegates Norman and Mathias Conway, the gaming bill was submitted at the earliest possible time and eventually be approved by the House with minimum opposition. It was approved in the Senate but only after Senators decided to combine it with another gaming bill, one permitting card games at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County.

The proposal returned to its original Ways and Means committee in the House, where it was dismissed after legislators decided not to agree with Senate version of the proposal. The past commander of Ocean City's American Legion Post 166, Sarge Garlitz, was very angry that Rosecroft bill was attached because it had absolutely nothing to do with a local issue. Garlitz said that is the stupidest thing that has ever heard in his life.

He said that you have someone from Prince George's County and Calvert County telling what is good for their county and what is not. He added that someone up there is very irresponsible for taking this proposal away from Worcester County residents.

Plans for an American Legion baseball team that would have been funded by income from slot machines also fell through with the dismissal of the bill. A state legislative study of the bill concluded that the slot machines could have produced approximately $1 million yearly for Worcester charities among the eight fraternal organizations allowed to have them.


Thursday, 06 May 2010
Darren G. Strachan