With casino approved, Springfield awaits repeal decision - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

With casino approved, Springfield awaits repeal decision

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Within a matter of weeks, Western Massachusetts will know if the state supreme court is going to allow voters to possibly strike down the casino law.

With a multitude of TV cameras focused on them, MGM and city officials addressed that next step, after the Massachusetts Gaming Commission unanimously approved the Western Mass casino license.

Opponents said state residents did not get to voice their opinion by going to the polls.

However, MGM Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren disagreed, saying the people of Springfield were allowed to make a choice.

"The law was thoughtful in this regard," said Murren. "It took into account the critical importance of giving the people the right to vote, which they did."

Murren added that another vote would be a disservice to the people of the city.

"I've been asked many times today...'when I educated myself on the topic, and I made the effort to come out to the polls and voted for or against a project, I thought that meant something,'" said Murren.

City leaders, like Mayor Domenic Sarno, agree.

"Votes were taken," said Sarno. "Communities that wanted these resort type facilities voted for it. Ones that didn't, did not. Springfield was a very strong vote."  

"We can't predict what the court will do, but we're optimistic," said Steven Abdow, who represents Repeal the Casino Deal. 

The group is waiting for the state Supreme Court to decide if the repeal question will be allowed on the ballot in November.

State officials said the justices must make a decision by July 9, in order for it to appear.

"You can never tell what the court is going to do," said Abdow. "It's hard to predict, but it really seems like in the court of common sense and the court of public opinion, it makes sense that it should be on the ballot."

Murren said if it does get that far, he is still willing to bet on his casino.

"I believe not only that the facts are with us for July with the courts, but should it come to a commonwealth vote, it will pass," Murren stated.

If the court decides to not allow the repeal on the ballot in November, city officials said they hope to have MGM breaking ground before the summer is through.

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