MetroWest Daily News: Local reps against casinos in Marlborough

By Paul Crocetti

MARLBOROUGH – Casinos do not belong in Marlborough, the city’s legislators said yesterday.

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, said he is opposed to any expanded gaming while state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, D-Marlborough, said she is specifically against casinos in the city.

Gregoire has not made up her mind about her position on expanded gaming in other parts of the state.

“There are communities that want casinos,” Gregoire said at a legislative update breakfast presented by the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Marlborough, with a burgeoning business environment, is not the place to put them.”

Gregoire last week held a forum on casinos led by state representatives with opposing views. Audience members also offered varied opinions.

There have been reports that Sheldon Adelson, the head of Las Vegas Sands Corp., is interested in building a casino in Marlborough. However, Mayor Nancy Stevens said she has not had any communication with a potential developer.

Businesses and residents don’t want a casino here, Gregoire said.

Eldridge has a record opposed to expanded gaming, from slots to high-end casinos.

“We shouldn’t raise revenues on the backs of those who can least afford it,” said Eldridge, who often receives questions from constituents about casinos.

Casinos hurt the surrounding business communities, both legislators said.

Small businesses suffer because visitors will spend thousands of dollars at a casino rather than visiting the smaller shops around the area, Eldridge said.

Gregoire said she expects legislators to take up the casino debate early this fall. Lawmakers do not have a casino bill in front of them at the moment.

Gregoire told a group of about 50 people at the Courtyard by Marriott that she planned to go from the hotel to the State House debate on Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat. Legislators are discussing the possibility of changing state law to allow Gov. Deval Patrick to make a temporary appointment.

Given everything going on in Washington, D.C., including the health care debate, it is important for Massachusetts to have two seats, Eldridge said.

In addition, law dictates that Kennedy’s staffers must stop addressing constituent concerns out of his office soon.

“Sen. Kennedy’s office is really the gold standard for that service,” Eldridge said.

The legislators agreed that the governor will likely make more 9C midyear budget cuts later this year. The cuts, done without legislative approval, will hopefully be smaller than the last round, Eldridge said.

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