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Massachusetts to Consider Three Casinos

Gov. Deval L. Patrick unveiled a proposal on Monday to allow three resort-style casinos in Massachusetts. The revenues, he said, would help the commonwealth pay for road and bridge and repair, and provide property tax relief to homeowners.

If the state Legislature approves the plan, the casinos would be built in the metropolitan Boston area and in western and southeastern Massachusetts. Officials said they were expected to generate $400 million in annual revenue for the state and create 20,000 permanent jobs by 2012.

“Casino gambling is neither a cure-all or the end of civilization,” Patrick said at a news conference. “On balance, however, and under certain conditions, I believe resort casinos can and will work well in and for the Commonwealth.”

Nationally, more and more states are turning to casinos as a source of revenue.

In April, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas signed a law allowing up to four state-owned resort-style casinos. In February, Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York approved plans for a $600 million casino in the Catskills to be run by the St. Regis Mohawk tribe. Last year, Pennsylvania approved the construction of 11 slots-only casinos.

IBM Challenges Microsoft With Free Software

IBM plans to mount its most ambitious challenge in years to Microsoft’s dominance of personal computer software, by offering free programs for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.

The company is announcing the desktop software, called IBM Lotus Symphony, at an event on Tuesday in New York. The programs will be available as free downloads from the IBM Web site.

IBM’s Lotus-branded proprietary programs already compete with Microsoft products for e-mail, messaging and work group collaboration. But the Symphony software is a free alternative to Microsoft’s mainstay Office programs — Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The Office business is huge and lucrative for Microsoft, second only to its Windows operating system as a profit maker.

In the 1990s, IBM failed to compete head-on with Microsoft in personal computer software with its OS/2 operating system and its SmartSuite office productivity programs.

IBM is taking a different approach this time. Its offerings are versions of open-source software developed in a consortium called OpenOffice.org.

Times to Stop Charging For Parts of Its Web Site

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight on Monday, reflecting a growing view in the industry that subscription fees cannot outweigh the potential advertising revenue from increased traffic on a free site.

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times, and to some students and educators.

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.