By State Rep. Vincent Pedone
There has been quite a bit of activity at the State House since summer ended, and recently the House passed legislation expanding casino gaming in Massachusetts. The bill, which is designed to stimulate economic growth in the Commonwealth, will establish an independent gaming commission that could license up to three casinos in the state. 123 of my colleagues voted with me in passing this legislation, and it is our expectation that 15,000 jobs will be created in Massachusetts should the Senate and Governor approve it.
While casino gaming has dominated headlines across the Commonwealth, I also want to provide you with an update on another type of gaming legislation that I have been working on this past year – video gaming. In January, I filed a bill that would provide tax incentives to video game companies if they create jobs in Massachusetts.
Like the casino gaming legislation, my video game bill is designed to stimulate economic growth in the Commonwealth. I believe it will help make Massachusetts a hub for video game design and development, a burgeoning industry that is expected to surpass the size of both the music and movie industries by 2014.
By providing financial incentives to video game companies, the Commonwealth could attract and retain successful companies that already provide jobs to thousands of Massachusetts residents. Currently 76 video game companies employ more than 1,200 people here, and I believe we have the educational talent and resources to expand. Fourteen Massachusetts colleges have academic programs or courses in video game design, including Princeton Review nationally-ranked #6 WPI and #10 Becker College. Between those two schools, there are over 325 students in Worcester working toward degrees in video game design.
Massachusetts in the past has successfully nurtured the growth and development of business clusters in fields such as biotechnology, telecommunications, and healthcare. The Bay State’s unique mix of academic institutions, talented human resources, and venture capitalists enables it to take the lead position in different fields, and I believe we now are strongly positioned to be a leader in video gaming.
My bill is currently in the Joint Committee on Revenue, and a tentative hearing date is scheduled in October. By no means will this bill be a cure-all for our state’s economy, but it should stimulate growth in the Commonwealth if it passes.
Casino gaming and video gaming highlight Massachusetts’ necessity for economic stimulus, and both pieces of legislation are evidence that the legislature has already kicked back into high-gear. Much work is yet to be done, but I remain committed to helping our state’s creative economy grow.