On May 22nd, 2009, the Massachusetts Senate unanimously voted to dismiss a proposal to permit the state's four racing tracks to offer slot machines-for now. The plan would have permitted the racing tracks to add 2,500 slot machines each, which could have attracted new revenue to support cities and towns affected by cuts to local aid.
The proposal, which was introduced as an amendment to the budget, was defeated in an 31-to-6 vote. The Senate also voted 29-to-8, against a proposal to shelve by 2 years the enforcement of a brand new law banning dog races on January 1st, 2010. The law, which was approved by state voters in November as part of an initiative, will shutdown two racing tracks, the Wonderland Greyhound Racetrack in Revere and the Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Racing Park.
The 3 hour debate on both issues was only a prelude to a much vigorous debate expected to take place in the following months. The state's top officials-House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray and Governor Deval Patrick-have all agreed to review the issue again in the fall. While majority of Senate Democrats voted against the slot machine proposals they made it clear that they are not against gambling, only against making it as a part of the state budget.
Senator Stanley Rosenberg, a Democrat from Amherst said that they hope to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Rosenberg has been appointed by Murray to review the issue of expanded gaming and he stated it would take at least twelve months from the time a law was approved before the state begin reaping any profits from slot machines.