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Local Officials Generally Supportive of Later Last Call For Casinos

People playing the slot machines at the Plainridge Park Casino
Don Treeger
The Republican
People playing the slot machines at the Plainridge Park Casino

As some high profile Massachusetts politicians criticize recent legislation that paves the way for casinos in the commonwealth to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., elected officials in communities where resort casinos will operate are generally supportive of the law.

The change allows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue liquor licenses allowing casinos to serve alcohol to people gambling on casino floors until 4 a.m. The new time, which amounts to a two-hour extension, was included in the state budget Governor Charlie Baker signed into law.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh have publicly denounced the legislation.

But Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he strongly supports the new law. he said the Wynn Resort Casino, which is under construction in his city, must be able to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. to compete.

"This is purely just a tool to offer the high-end gamer...to get their business," DeMaria said in an interview.

In a statement, DeMaria pointed out that the casino will be competing for the patronage of high rollers, who have the option to fly to casinos in Las Vegas, Asia and other places where alcohol is served 24 hours per day.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a statement that he had already expected casino operator MGM, which is currently building a casino in the city's downtown, would be allowed by the state to serve alcohol past the 2 a.m. cutoff applied to bars and restaurants in the city.

However, Sarno added in a statement, he will keep an eye on the situation.

"I will have my appropriate city departments also review to see if any other modifications are warranted," Sarno said in a statement.

The extension option is not expected to change anything in Plainville, the only Massachusetts community with a casino currently operating, said Plainville Selectmen Matthew Kavanah.

Plainridge Park Casino agreed with town officials in 2015 to end alcohol sales at 1 a.m., even though their liquor license allows them to sell booze until 2 a.m., Kavanah said.

"It's not going to change how we operate in Plainville," Kavanah said of the new law.

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