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Keller @ Large: Lawmakers Trying To Hammer Out Final Casino Bill

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File Image (Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

File Image (Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

BOSTON (CBS) – Beacon Hill appears ready to roll the dice.

A Statehouse committee working on a final casino bill is hammering out a deal.

Lawmakers go home for the year on Wednesday. Now, both sides are working to beat the clock.

There’s a lot they agree about, but there’s one hot-button issue that’s still dividing lawmakers.

Watch Keller @ Large:

Among the unresolved issues:

  • Who gets to vote on whether or not a casino’s allowed to come into your city or town?
  • Should the casinos be allowed to offer free or discounted drinks, perhaps opening the door for the return of happy hours?
  • Should legislators who vote on the casinos have to wait a year before going to work for one?

One State Senator is pushing for a five-year waiting period before former legislators can work for a casino, and he touched off a nasty spat on the senate floor six weeks ago.

The Senate approved a one-year waiting period, but the House wouldn’t bite.

“Is it something that one way or another makes it a better bill or less good than it could be? I don’t think so,” said Rep. Joe Wagner of Chicopee.

“It would be almost political malpractice not to include this because there is so much support for this provision,” said Sen. James Eldridge of Acton.

New Hampshire will not get casinos or racinos anytime soon. On Monday, Gov. John Lynch issued a statement declaring he will veto any legislation that expands gaming in the granite state.

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