Rosenberg opposes later last call for casinos

  • Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Associated Press
Published: 7/19/2017 9:12:25 PM

BOSTON — Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg, a chief architect of the state law that legalized casino gambling, said Wednesday he was strongly opposed to a new law that could allow casinos to serve alcohol until 4 a.m.

“I hate it,” Rosenberg said during an interview on Boston Herald Radio, adding that if casinos can’t take a few hours off from serving drinks, “there is something wrong.”

The provision was included in the $40 billion state budget signed this week by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.

The 2011 casino law required that gambling establishments stop serving alcohol to patrons between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. The change would allow casinos, which generally operate 24 hours, to seek permission from state gambling regulators to extend last call until 4 a.m., shortening the overnight hiatus.

The casino provision was not part of the Senate budget plan but survived negotiations on a final version of the spending plan, over Rosenberg’s objections.

The Senate leader said his chief concern was that the change would embolden the powerful casino lobby to seek further accommodations from the Legislature. For example, Rosenberg said he worried that casinos might in the future seek 24-hour alcohol service or to lift the state’s prohibition on smoking.

“The industry will start driving the enterprise rather than the Commonwealth’s regulations,” he said.

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