Massachusetts’ Proposed Casino Liquor License Extension Causes Hangover

Posted on: April 17, 2017, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: April 17, 2017, 06:43h.

In Massachusetts, a proposal to extend casino liquor licenses to 4am is wetting no one’s whistle. In fact, no one even seems sure where it came from.

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg is against casino alcohol extension.
Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg is “not a fan” of extending casino liquor licenses to 4am, whoever the hell’s idea it was. (Image: stanleyrosenberg.com)

The proposal has been written into the House budget plan but by whom is unclear. The only current casino in operation in the state is Plainridge Park, a slots facility that opened in 2015.

But according to the Sun Chronicle, Plainridge did not sweet-talk any lawmakers into adding an alcohol extension into the budget. On the contrary, the operator is perfectly happy with the current state of affairs, which permits it to serve booze until 2am.

Planridge, in fact, switches the pumps off an hour earlier than that, presumably because it doesn’t want drunks piling into the casino when the local bars close at 1am.

So, if not Plainridge, then who, because we’re fairly certain the local Methodists aren’t behind it.

The Strange World of the Statehouse

“As with many things in the strange world that is the Statehouse, people aren’t sure how the provision got into the budget or who requested it,” wrote a mystified Sun Chronicle.

“Local state representatives said they didn’t know anything about it,” it adds unhappily.

Perhaps those two multinational casino giants, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, who have each invested billions of dollars in the state and are currently building Massachusetts’ first two multi-billion-dollar integrated resorts, might be able to throw some light on the subject.

Well, no, apparently they don’t know who lobbied the House to extend the liquor license either, because the Sun Chronicle asked them and they didn’t respond. So a mystery it remains.

Keeping Unwholesome Hours

Regardless of who’s behind it, Senate President Stan Rosenberg is very much not behind it.

“I’m not a fan of that idea,” he declared to reporters. “If you think about it, there aren’t many hours when they can’t serve alcohol.”

Rosenberg has indeed thought about it, worked out some quick math on a napkin, and calculated that the four hours between 4am and 8am during which casinos would not be permitted to serve booze equals unwholesome.    

“I know that is a common practice in most states,” he conceded. “I do understand that. But we made a ‘values’ judgement in the Commonwealth when we debated that we were not going to go down that path.

“First one little change, then another little change, then another little change and, before you know it, the Commonwealth loses control of the industry,” he said.

Just as one little drink, leads to another little drink, then another little drink and, before you know it, you lose control of your tenuous grasp of optimal blackjack strategy.

The senator may be onto something.