Rosenberg pans casino last call provision

Says casinos relentless in trying to change the rules

SENATE PRESIDENT STANLEY ROSENBERG said on Thursday he was not a fan of a House proposal that could allow Massachusetts casinos to serve alcohol to patrons for an additional two hours – until 4 a.m.

Rosenberg, who shied away from discussing other aspects of the House budget at a meeting with reporters, showed no reticence in dismissing the alcohol provision as the first step by casinos to begin changing the rules under which they operate.

The Senate president, who helped craft the state’s gambling legislation, said a values judgment was made at the time the law was drafted to hold casinos to the same last call rules as other establishments selling liquor. He also said there was a general agreement that lawmakers were not going to continually chip away at the state’s gaming statute.

“This is the yellow light, the caution light. If you approve this, next month there’ll be another proposal and another one after that,” he said. “This is an industry that, if you’re not careful, starts to run the table.”

A spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee, which included the casino last call provision as an outside section in its budget, said on Tuesday that the measure was added to the budget to maximize the potential of the gaming industry in Massachusetts. The provision allows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to extend last call at casinos but doesn’t require it.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“As we get nearer to the opening of the facilities and six years past the creation of the law, we need to take into account the changes in the marketplace, and ensure competitiveness.  The language is not a directive, not specific to any licensee, and allows the commission to consider extending the hours,” said Christopher Bennett, a spokesman for the committee, in a statement.

Rosenberg wasn’t convinced.  “There aren’t many hours when they don’t serve alcohol,” he said.