Senator Donoghue Vows to Protect Enterainment Venues from Casino Competition

SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

With the state Legislature set to begin debate this week on a bill to license three resort-style casinos and one slots parlor, advocates for theaters and auditoriums are warning that the introduction of casinos into the Bay State will make it much more difficult for venues to attract stars. Casinos typically offer three times as much money as other local entertainment venues to entice performers. Casinos also often ask acts to not play any other local venues within 100 miles of the gambling facilities, said state Sen. Eileen Donoghue, a Lowell Democrat. "They can't compete because it is not a level playing field," Donoghue, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, told The Sun's editorial board yesterday. "These venues tell us: 'If we can't get the acts to begin with, we can't stay in business.'" Donoghue and the committee's co-chair, state Rep. Sarah Peake, a Provincetown Democrat, said they are both pushing for legislative language to minimize the negative impact casinos would have on the bottom lines of cultural institutions. The legislators and the Massachusetts Cultural Council pushed for the gambling legislation to prohibit licensed casinos from operating entertainment venues seating between 500 and 5,000 people. The bill as currently written stipulates that any live entertainment venue built at a casino must have fewer than 1,000 seats or more than 3,500 seats. "The only time to build in protections for places like the Lowell Memorial Auditorium is now," Donoghue said. "Otherwise, you could see some of these venues get killed in the crossfire."   Read the full article here.

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