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Massachusetts Gaming Commission Approves State's First Casino License

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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has voted to award the first casino gambling license in the state.

   The gaming commission voted 3 to 2 Thursday to award a license to Penn National Gaming to operate a slot machine parlor at a harness race track in Plainville on the Rhode Island border. Penn beat out two competitors for the lone slot license allowed by state law. Commissioner Bruce Stebbins said the vote is a milestone.

    "We're taking the next step in a long and lengthy process that's introducing gaming into the Commonwealth in the right way and at a level of success we all hope to achieve."

    A majority of commissioners backed Penn’s proposal citing the company’s experience running 28 gaming facilities around the country, and the prospect of saving the horse race industry in Massachusetts.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.