The state’s 2011 gaming law designated certain levels and types of gaming activity in specific regions of the state. Half of the South Shore falls in Region C which includes the Cape and Islands, Bristol and Plymouth Counties. Norfolk County is in Region A. There are two categories of facilities.
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently endorsed House Bill 4070, An Act Relative to the Authority of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which will allow the gaming commission to consider a Category 2 license as well as a Category 1 license in the region. The Chamber covers approximately 25 communities along Route 3; about half of which are in Region C.
The goal of the Expanded Gaming Act in 2011 was to promote economic development and job creation throughout the state. Specifically, this law allowed up to three destination resort casinos located in three geographically diverse regions across the state and a single slots facility at one location statewide. Today, destination resort casinos are up and running in Regions A & B, with a slots facility also operating in Region A.
The Chamber is actively engaged in regional economic development work to make the area more economically competitive. This includes broadening our current economic base. We find it troubling that part of our region in Southeastern Massachusetts is almost effectively blocked under current legislation from even considering a gaming option in this area since the prospects, if any, of a full resort casino in Region C appear distant.
The Chamber’s support for H 4070 is to allow consideration of options. We have not taken any position on any specific gaming proposal. We simply believe that the region should at least have some options open for new development. Likewise, it is our hope that the Commission will reopen the licensing process so proposals can be considered.
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined the Chamber and South Shore Economic Development Corp. (SSEDC) leaders, Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan, Weymouth Mayor Bob Hedlund, and area developers in a discussion held June 4 that focused on economic development and housing initiatives both generally around the Commonwealth and more specifically throughout the South Shore and the Braintree/Weymouth Landing.
Throughout the discussion, which started at Landing 53 (25 Commercial Street, Braintree), Lt. Gov. Polito discussed how the initiative, South Shore 2030, launched by the South Shore Chamber is very similar to what she and Governor Baker are looking to achieve across the Commonwealth, and how the leadership of the mayors and the business community took this vision and made it a reality at the Landing. A plan is important, she said, but without resources and partnerships, it cannot be implemented.
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce is going on record in opposition to the Nov. 6th ballot Question 1 ‘Patient-to-Nurse Limits,’ a referendum, that if passed, would limit the number of patients assigned to each registered nurse in Massachusetts hospitals and certain other health care facilities.
‘The question sets a rigid staffing standard for all hospitals, in all units, at all times,’ said Peter Forman, President & CEO of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. ‘It is an unworkable, one-size-fits-all system that imposes heavy fines, and limits the ability of doctors, nurses and hospitals to make decisions on how to care for patients; the implications for services in and outside of hospitals should concern every citizen.’
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce has long been a staunch supporter of a strong healthcare system for the region and is voicing concern that the cost of the proposed law will force hospitals to reduce some levels of care and community services.
‘The impact on our area hospitals would be significant,’ said Forman. ‘Annual costs for the South Shore Health system would be as high as $33 million, $7 million for Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Milton and $5 million at Beth Israel Deaconess in Plymouth.’
The law, said Forman, would also be ‘devastating’ to healthcare delivered outside of hospitals, as nurses would be drained from settings such as home care, senior care, and mental health treatment at a time when ‘treatment for mental health and opioid addiction is needed more than ever.’