Last week, as part of the annual budgetary planning, Massachusetts house representatives introduced a provision that would allow casinos to serve alcohol until 4AM so long as they are gambling. If approved, this would mean that the only time Massachusetts casinos would not be able to serve alcohol would be between the hours of 4AM and 8AM.
Naturally, the push to expand the hours during which alcohol is able to be sold is one being made to increase cash flow to the state’s coffers, but not everyone is happy about it. In fact, some people oppose the provision and say that it will only lead to problems.
Preferential Treatment Insinuated
Some of the most vocal opponents of the proposed provision are local restaurant and bar owners. Basically, if casinos are allowed to sell alcohol until 4AM, they would have an unfair advantage over local bars and restaurants, which can only stay open until 2AM. One of these owners, Nadim Kashouh, spoke to 22WWLP on what it might mean and how he feels. He said, If you ask me today, ‘Am I going to be open until 4:00 a.m.?’ I would say probably not. I think everybody should be on the same playing level. It should be even.”
Not only are casinos allowed to stay open longer, which is seen as an unfair advantage in and of itself, owners are saying that the added draw of gambling means that they do not stand a chance. Add to this the fact that most casinos have restaurants within them, and it is easy to see why restaurant owners are concerned with what the future holds.
At the present moment in time, however, Massachusetts lawmakers do not seem all that interested in the idea of casinos promoting the use of alcohol more than they already do. In fact, most who have commented on the situation have made it very clear that they think such a change would not do a lot in the way of bringing in revenue. It boils down to risk vs. reward, and lawmakers do not seem to feel as though the small reward is worth what is looking like a large risk.
Still, the gambling landscape of Massachusetts—and New England as a whole—is brand new territory, so there is no way of saying for sure what is going to happen. We will continue to follow this and see whether the provision is ultimately approved, or if it will be shot down.