Horse racing subsidy – House bill includes 9 percent tax on the slot parlor to help sustain the horse racing industry for a total tax of 49 percent on the slot parlor while the Senate horse racing industry tax is 15 percent for a total tax of 55 percent.
Happy hour – The Senate allows free and reduced drink specials for bars and restaurants outside of casinos whereas the House keeps current restrictions.
Warning sticker – Both bills require casinos to post payback percentages on slot machines, but the Senate version also requires the posting of an addiction hotline.
Immigration – The Senate bill requires casino owners to use E-Verify or a similar system for employees and contract employees whereas the House requires residency verification under existing law.
Tourism money – The House allocates .5 percent of casino tax revenue to promote tourism, while the Senate allocates 1 percent, reducing the allocation to the state rainy day fund from 10 percent to 9.5 percent.
Local aid – The Senate devotes 25 percent of casino tax revenue to local aid. The House devotes 20 percent to local aid and 5 percent to help communities protect open space and build affordable housing.
Local ballot referendum – The House exempts Worcester, Springfield, and Boston from a requirement that casino developers win approval in a citywide referendum approving a casino’s location, instead restricting approval to a ward vote. The Senate version exempts only Worcester and Boston from a citywide vote unless their city councils vote to authorize it.
One year cooling off period – The Senate bars lawmakers from working for casinos for one year after they leave office. The House uses existing ethics rules.
Mitigation money – When negotiating with surrounding cities and towns, the House allows casino a developer to take the last best offer to gaming commission in the case of a deadlock. The Senate requires the sides to reach agreement on their own.
Internet poker – The House requires a new state gaming commission, in consultation with the state lottery commission and legislators from both parties and chambers, to study state and federal law and draft model legislation that would allow internet poker to be licensed and regulated. The Senate does not require such a study.
Felony – The Senate would disqualify anyone with a prior felony conviction from receiving a gambling license. The House allows the gaming commission to decide whether to disqualify applicants with a felony conviction that is at least 10 years old and bars those with more recent convictions.
Local school aid – The House bill uses the state’s local aid formula to distribute 14 percent of casino revenues to school districts. The Senate would prioritize 165 districts that are getting less than their targeted aid percentage, meaning other districts would likely get no additional money from casino taxes.
Noah Bierman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @noahbierman.