Casino repeal question will be on November ballot; gaming commi - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Casino repeal question will be on November ballot; gaming commission, MGM respond

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MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis (left) and Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Stephen Crosby. (MassLive) MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis (left) and Chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission Stephen Crosby. (MassLive)
BOSTON (WSHM) -

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that a question about repealing the state's casino law will appear on November's ballot.

Anti-casino advocates had petitioned Attorney General Martha Coakley when she disqualified their effort in September to get the question on the ballot.

She said the initiative could illegally result in the taking of private property from casino developers.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted to make MGM Springfield the state's first casino licensee.

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Steve Crosby said the commission respects the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court to allow the citizens of the Commonwealth to vote on the repeal of expanded gaming in November.

"As the commission has demonstrated in the past, we have the flexibility to achieve progress in the licensing and regulatory process even in an atmosphere of uncertainty and we will continue to do so," Crosby said in a statement. "Although the commission has not taken a position on the repeal; we are committed to implementing the law as it currently exists in a manner that is participatory, transparent and fair."

MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis said MGM has spent three years collaborating and talking with the people of Western Massachusetts on the value of a casino resort as a unique economic development catalyst.

"We are confident that our urban revitalization project in Springfield, one of the Commonwealth's most prominent Gateway Cities, is something to which all Massachusetts voters can relate," Mathis said. "It is a comeback story in progress with hard-working people eager to grow jobs and get back to work. We are fully prepared to extend this message to a larger audience through a statewide campaign to educate the voters on the enormous economic benefits that would be lost to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth in a repeal."

Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts both have proposals to build a casino in the Boston area, and are each vying to become Eastern Massachusetts' sole casino licensee.

In February, Penn National Gaming was given the state's only slots parlor license for a facility in Plainville.

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