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Expanded Gaming in Massachusetts Creates Huge Competition in New England

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Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation November 22 permitting casino gambling in Massachusetts. CBS News reports that now Connecticut and Rhode Island are seriously considering legalizing casinos as well to keep up with the increasing competition in New England.

Currently, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority behind the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut is seeking to build a gaming resort—complete with a 600-room hotel and spa, and a casino with slots, table games and poker—in Palmer, Massachusetts. On December 8 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Mohegan Sun will co-host a conference to explore the opportunities for community businesses as a result of new destination casino resorts popping up in Western Massachusetts in the near future. Mohegan Sun planned the conference, Destination Casino Resorts: Opportunities for the Business Community of Western Massachusetts, in partnership with the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce and the Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce.

The new law authorizes up to three casinos and one slots parlor in Massachusetts. Other casino developers are currently pursuing casinos in Springfield and Holyoke in Western Massachusetts.

Next year, Rhode Island voters will be asked to answer a ballot question on whether a slot parlor should be made into a full-fledged casino, CBS News reports.

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While the Connecticut government cannot project dollar amounts related to the impact from new casinos in Massachusetts, it expects competition to be "negative for Connecticut's casinos," Gian-Carl Casa, spokesman for the state Office of Policy and Management, wrote in an email to CBS News.