Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick addresses a rally on Boston Common in Boston, Tuesday, March 18, 2008. Hundreds of casino supporters rallied on Boston Common before a legislative hearing at the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to support Patrick's casino plan.

Thursday night, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to create a special commission to study casino gambling, effectively killing Gov. Deval Patrick's plan to license three resort casinos across the state.

Already, legislators and lobbyists are looking for other ways to expand gambling in Massachusetts, possibly through slot machines at the state's racetracks or even by reviving the governor's bill in the Senate. Almost certainly, the Legislature will face another casino plan next year.

Why the push? The state needs the revenue. Patrick argued his plan would have produced $600 million in licensing revenue, $400 million in taxes and $2 billion in economic activity. Opponents say those figures are wildly overblown.

Would casinos be a boon or a bane for Massachusetts? Here, two of our state senators argue the issue.

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