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Two Senators Trying To Stop Barden Refinancing Plan For Casino

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Don Barden has been treading on shallow water for a long time in Pittsburgh, and he is now starting to accumulate enemies. That is not a good position for him to be in when he is waiting approval of a refinancing plan for his casino project.

Two Pittsburgh area Senators are asking the state Gaming Control Board to not rush into a decision on the refinancing plan. They are seeking that the license issued to Barden be revoked and that it is once again opened up to new applicants.

They claim that the casino license issued to him was under his original proposal, and that due to his current financial problems that the original agreement, “is no longer financially viable. The proper response of this board is to revoke the license issued..”, and the board should, “re-open the license to a competitive process that will include new applicants.”

There were two other applicants originally for the casino license in Pittsburgh. Forest City and Isle of Capri both submitted proposals before the decision was made in December of 2006 to award Barden the license.

If Senators Jane Orie and Jim Ferlo are to get their way, they will have to move quickly. Barden is finalizing his plan to refinance the casino project. Neil Bluhm, the new head of the project could ask the Gaming Control Board to approve a license transfer as soon as the end of this week.

Lobbyists Spending Big Money On Casino Issue In Massachusetts

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The casino gambling debate has been a hot topic in the state of Massachusetts. Lobbyists have been pouring money into making sure that their side of the debate was heard.

Secretary of State William Galvin suggested that the money spent by lobbyists with gambling interest this year could break an all time record. The groups had been pushing hard for legalized casinos in the state.

Had the House not defeated a Bill proposed by Governor Deval Patrick that would have brought casinos to the state, the lobbying money spent would have climbed even higher. Suffolk Downs, one of the groups that wanted a casino, spent almost $500,000 on seven lobbying firms.

“The economy might not be well, but lobbyists are doing swell,” said Galvin. The figures from this year are expected to double the lobbying money that was spent the last time casino gambling was being discussed by the Legislature.

Former Governor William F. Weld had a casino proposal on the table back in the mid-nineties. Lobbyists spent $1 million trying to get that proposal approved. This year, it is estimated that over $2 million was spent.

The Bill this year was shot down by the House, but it has not swayed Patrick to give up the fight. he is still looking for ways to bring casino gambling to the state.

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