letters | envisioning future of casinos in Mass.

Legislators deserve credit for putting teeth in gaming law

While I join the Globe in applauding the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for faithfully enforcing its mandate (“Putting teeth in the law,” Editorial, Aug. 17), I strongly disagree with the claim that legislators “deferred” to certain interests while crafting the expanded gaming law.

It is no accident that the commission possesses the resources and authority necessary to weed out unsuitable applicants. These powers derive directly from the very law criticized by the Globe. State law requires the commission to investigate the integrity of each applicant. It empowers the commission to deny a license for any cause it deems reasonable. Indeed, the paramount objective of the gaming law, as stated in its very first provision, is “ensuring public confidence in the integrity of the gaming licensing process.”

To avoid the mistakes of other states, the Massachusetts Legislature purposefully created a truly independent commission, subject to the open meeting law, whose budget is not approved by legislators and whose members are appointed by the treasurer, attorney general, and governor. That unsuitable applicants are now being denied licenses is a credit not only to the commission charged with executing the law, but to the legislators who passed it in the first place.

Joseph F. Wagner

State representative

Democrat of Chicopee

The writer is House chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.