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Senate votes on 'free drinks' at Mass. casinos

October 11, 2011

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BOSTON—State senators debating a casino gambling bill have approved an amendment that could ease some of the restrictions on so-called "happy hours" in Massachusetts -- if casinos open in the future.

The amendment sponsored by Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, would make bars and restaurants subject to the same liquor licensing regulations that casinos are in the future. So if casinos are allowed to serve free drinks or have other alcohol promotions, other bars and restaurants would as well.

Hedlund says it would be a way of leveling the field for establishments that could lose business to casinos.

The amendment was passed Tuesday after a separate amendment that would have barred casinos from serving free drinks was rejected by the Senate.

State regulations currently prohibit restaurants in Massachusetts from serving free drinks to customers.