SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -
The group of anti-casino activists involved with the Repeal the Casino Deal Springfield group spoke to area residents today explaining why they don't want a casino and how they plan to repeal the state's gaming law.
Members of the group said they believe positive promises made by MGM like adding jobs and boosting the economy will be countered by an increase in problem gambling and crime. They said no evidence has been made that the casino will bring opportunity.
"We can do better in Massachusetts with education, high-tech, bio-tech, healthcare, we owe the people of Springfield and western Massachusetts more," said Scott Harshbarger, former Massachusetts attorney general.
"This is all about democracy. If the casinos can persuade people and make promises that they think people will keep, so be it. But, I think the people will prevail on this one over money," said Harshbarger.
Chairman of the campaign John Riberio said, "Our message resonates because our message is about people protecting their communities, protecting where they live, protecting their families."
State campaign director Darek Barcikowski said they plan to open up several campaign offices throughout the area including one in Springfield and Boston. The plan to win the vote begins with getting the word out about the cons of the casino to communities.
"Reaching out to voters on the phones, knocking on doors," said Barcikowski.
MGM released the following statement, "A no vote of question 3 will stop millions of tax dollars from flowing to neighboring states, and respect certified votes."
Pioneer Valley resident Steve Abdow said he's just pro-Springfield.
"It actually serves not as an economic engine, but as an economic vacuum cleaner, and this is what we're trying to make people aware of," said Abdow.
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