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Key Votes

H 4619 - Gambling Law Amendments - Key Vote

Massachusetts Key Votes

Stages

Family

Issues

Note

NOTE: A NEW BILL NUMBER IS ASSIGNED WHEN A NEW VERSION OF THE BILL IS DRAFTED.

Stage Details

Legislation - Referred to Committee (House) -
Legislation - Passage (Executive) -
Note:

NOTE: THE GOVERNOR RETURNED THE LEGISLATION TO THE LEGISLATURE WITH RECOMMENDED AMENDMENTS. IF THE LEGISLATION IS REPASSED IN ANY FORM, THE GOVERNOR MAY SIGN OR VETO THE LEGISLATION, BUT CANNOT RETURN THE LEGISLATION TO THE LEGISLATURE WITH AMENDMENTS A SECOND TIME.

Legislation - Conference Report Adopted (Senate) (25-15) -
Legislation - Conference Report Adopted (House) (117-36) -
Legislation - Nonconcurrence Vote Passed (House) -
Legislation - Bill Passed With Amendment (Senate) (25-15) - (Key vote)

Title: Gambling Law Amendments

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that authorizes and regulates the operation of 3 gambling establishments ("casinos") in Massachusetts, but does not authorize existing simulcasting facilities ("racetracks") to operate slot machines.

Highlights:
-Establishes a Massachusetts Gaming Commission consisting of 5 commissioners appointed in the following ways (Sec. 13):
    -3 appointed by the governor, one of whom will be designated as chair; -1 appointed by the Attorney General; -1 appointed by the State Treasurer; -No more than 3 commissioners can be of the same political party; -No more than 2 commissioners can be of the same professional background or field; and -Each term as Commissioner will last 5 years, and no commissioner may serve more than 2 terms.
-Allows the Commission to issue up to 3 gambling licenses, and imposes a limit of 1 license per region, consisting of the following areas (Sec. 13):
    -Region 1: Suffolk, Middlesex, Essex and Worcester counties; -Region 2: Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Nantucket, Dukes and Barnstable counties; and -Region 3: Hampshire, Hamden, Franklin and Berkshire counties.
-Exempts the following from being defined as illegal gambling (Sec. 1):
    -A lottery game conducted by the state lottery commission; -Casino gambling regulated by the Commission pursuant to General Laws Ch. 23K; -Pari-mutuel wagering on horse races, whether live or simulcast, pursuant to General Laws Chs. 128A and 128C; -Bingo pursuant to General Laws Ch. 271; and -Charitable gambling pursuant to General Laws Ch. 271.
-Establishes a Massachusetts Gaming Control Board, composed of 3 members, and specifies the following requirements (Sec. 13):
    -1 member shall be a certified public accountant or have experience in corporate finance; and -1 member shall have experience in law enforcement, investigation, or law.
-Establishes a Division of Gaming Enforcement in the Department of the Attorney General with jurisdiction to do the following (Sec. 4):
    -Investigate and prosecute allegations of criminal activity related to or impacting the operation of gambling establishments or games; -Receive and take appropriate action on referrals for criminal prosecution from the commission or any other law enforcement body; -Provide assistance, upon request, to the commission in the consideration and promulgation of rules and regulations; -Ensure that there is no duplication of duties and responsibilities between it, the Commission, and the Board; and -Recommend persons to be placed on the list of excluded persons maintained by the Board.
-Prohibits employees of the Division of Gaming Enforcement from gambling in establishments under their jurisdiction while employed by the division, except as part of the performance of official duties (Sec. 4). -Requires the Commission to deny an application for a gambling license, or any other license or registration if the applicant has done the following (Sec. 13):
    -Been convicted of a felony or other convictions involving embezzlement, theft, fraud or perjury; provided, however that for convictions which occurred before the 10-year period immediately preceding application for licensure, an applicant may demonstrate, and the Commission shall consider, the applicant's rehabilitation and whether such conviction should not result in denial of the application; -Submitted an application for a license that contains false or misleading information; -Committed prior acts which have not been prosecuted or convicted but form a pattern of misconduct that makes the applicant unsuitable for a license; or -Has affiliates or close associates that would not qualify for a license or whose relationship with the applicant could pose an "injurious threat" to the interests of the commonwealth in awarding a gambling license to the applicant.
-Specifies the criteria for applicants to bid on a gambling license, including requirements that the applicant commit to do the following (Sec. 13):
    -Agree to be a state lottery reseller for the purpose of lottery and keno games, and demonstrates that state lottery and keno games would be readily accessible to the guests of the gaming establishment; -Prior to beginning operations, invest not less than $600 million into a gambling establishment proposed to be located in region 1 or 2 and not less than $400 million into a gambling establishment proposed to be located in region 3, not including the purchase or lease price of the land; -Meet the licensee bonding requirement as set by the Board; -Have a debt to equity ratio of not more than 4 to 1 when the application is submitted; -Own or acquire within 60 days after a license has been awarded, the land where the gambling establishment is proposed to be constructed; -Demonstrate the ability to pay and commit to paying the licensing fee of at least $75 million if the gambling establishment is proposed to be located in region 1 or 2 or $50 million if the gambling establishment is proposed to be located in region 3, and the operating licensing payment of 25 percent of all gross gambling revenue; -Have received a certified and binding vote on a ballot question at an election in the host community, in favor of such license; -Provide a community impact fee to the host community; -Pay for infrastructure costs of the host and surrounding communities incurred in direct relation to the construction and operation of a gambling establishment; -Provide to the commission a signed agreement between the host community and the applicant to have a gambling establishment located within the host community; -Comply with state and local building codes and local zoning ordinances; -Formulate for board approval and abide by an affirmative action program of equal opportunity by which the applicant guarantees to provide equal employment opportunities to all employees qualified for licensure in all employment categories; and -Pay to the Board a non-refundable application fee of $350,000.
-Requires the Commission, when determining whether an applicant should receive a gaming license, to evaluate factors including, but not limited to, the following (Sec. 13):
    -Whether the proposed gambling establishment offers the highest and best value creating a "secure and robust" gambling market in the region and the commonwealth; -The degree to which potential impacts on host and surrounding communities which might result from the development or operation of the gambling establishment are mitigated; -The revenues received by the commonwealth; and -The number and quality of the jobs provided by the proposed gambling establishment.
-Requires a non-gambling vendor that regularly conducts over $250,000 of business with a gambling licensee within a 12 month period or $100,000 of business within a 3 year period to be licensed as a gambling vendor (Sec. 13). -Authorizes a gambling licensee to issue credit to a patron of a gambling establishment in accordance with the following regulations (Sec. 13):
    -Procedures for confirming that a patron has an established credit history and is in good standing; -Whether the patron has a good credit history with the gambling establishment; -Authorization of any credit instrument; -Methods for acknowledging a credit instrument and payment of debt; and -Information to be provided by the patron to the gambling establishment to be shared with the Board for auditing purposes.
-Specifies the following penalties for gaming violations (Sec. 13):
    -For a person who conducts any game or gambling device in violation of applicable gaming laws or regulations, imprisonment for no more than 5 years in the state prison, imprisonment in the house of correction for no more than 2 1/2 years, a fine of $25,000, or imprisonment and the $25,000 fine, or, in the case of a non-natural person (an organization or entity), a fine of no more than $100,000; -For one who employs an unlicensed or unregistered individual in a position which requires a license or registration, imprisonment for no more than 6 months in the house of correction, a fine of no more than $10,000, or both, or in the case of a non-natural person, a fine of no more than $100,000; -For an unlicensed or unregistered person who works in a position that requires licensing or registration, imprisonment in the house of correction for no more than 6 months, a fine of no more than $10,000, or both; -For a licensee that places a game or device into play or display without permission from the Commission, or that receives compensation, reward, percentage, or a share of the revenue for keeping, running or carrying on a game or for owning real property upon the premises or owning the location within which the game occurs without permission from the Commission, imprisonment in the house of correction for no more than 2 ½ years, a fine of no more than $25,000, or both, or in the case of a non- natural person, a fine of no more than $100,000; -For a person that conducts or operates a game or device after the person's license has expired and prior to renewal of the license, imprisonment in the house of correction for no more than 1 ½ years, a fine of no more than $25,000, or both, or, in the case of a non-natural person, a fine of no more than $100,000; -For a licensee that fails to exclude a person who has been placed on the list of excluded persons by the Commission, a fine of no more than $5,000, imprisonment in the house of corrections for no more than 1 year, or both, or, in the case of a non-natural person, a fine not to exceed $100,000; -For one who willfully fails to report, pay or truthfully account for and pay over an applicable license fee or tax or who evades or defeats, or attempts to evade or defeat, a license fee or tax or payment of a license fee or tax, imprisonment in the state prison for no more than 5 years, imprisonment in the house of correction for no more than 2 ½ years, a fine of no more than $100,000, or both imprisonment and the $100,000 fine, or in the case of a non-natural person, a fine of no more than $5 million; and -For one who willfully resists, prevents, impedes, interferes with, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation to the Board, Bureau, Commission, or Division or to agents or employees thereof in the lawful performance of official duties, imprisonment in the state prison for no more than 5 years, imprisonment in the house of correction for no more than 2 1/2 years, a fine of no more than $25,000, or both imprisonment and the fine.
-Requires a person making a payment of lottery or gambling winnings above $600 to withhold and deduct 5 percent of the payment for taxes (Sec. 25). -Appropriates the proceeds of gambling licensing fees for the following purposes (Sec. 70):
    -$85 million to be remitted to the comptroller and deposited into the Local Aid Stabilization Fund; -$20 million to the Massachusetts Gaming Control Board to be used for start-up and operational costs; -$15 million to be transferred to the the Gaming Mitigation Trust Fund for mitigating the impacts of expanded gaming in the commonwealth; and -The remaining balance of the fund as of December 31, 2015 to be remitted to the comptroller and deposited into the Stabilization Fund.
-The text of this bill was replaced by a substitute amendment sponsored by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. -The bill number was H 4591 when introduced, H 4619 after House amendments were incorporated, H 4619 after Senate amendments were incorporated (Senate amendments are printed in S 2495), and H 5000 after Conference Committee amendments were incorporated.
Note:

NOTE: THIS BILL WAS AMENDED BY STRIKING THE ENTIRETY OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT AND REPLACING IT WITH THE TEXT OF THE AMENDMENT. THE DEGREE TO WHICH THE SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT TEXT DIFFERS FROM THE PREVIOUS VERSION OF THE TEXT CAN VARY GREATLY.

Legislation - Introduced (House) -

Title: Gambling Law Amendments

Legislation - Bill Passed (House) (120-37) -

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