Massachusetts court approves gambling referendum
The “voters of Massachusetts may choose to abolish casino and slots parlor gambling,” the court said in its unanimous decision, noting gambling opponents had gathered more than enough signatures to place the question on the ballot.
Under the gambling law, Massachusetts can award three casino licenses statewide. But just one has been awarded so far and the winner, Las Vegas developer MGM Resorts International, has put off formally accepting the license until the repeal question is settled.
Meanwhile, developers Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts are seeking the state’s eastern Massachusetts license with competing proposals near Boston. The state’s gaming commission is expected to choose between the two in August.
Wynn declined comment.
Casino advocates say the resorts will bring windfalls to cash-strapped communities and staunch the flow of money into casinos elsewhere in the Northeast. But critics say casinos could drive up crime and hurt property values.
Casino gambling has had mixed success in New England. Connecticut has two large casinos owned by Indian tribes, Maine has two small casinos and Rhode Island has two slot machine parlors. New Hampshire state legislators last year rejected a bill that would have allowed construction of a casino that had strong support from Governor Maggie Hassan.
Penn spokesman Eric Schippers said the company would launch an informational campaign ahead of the referendum and was still counting on a June 2015 opening.
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