Is Support Slipping Away for Massachusetts Casinos?

Casino Free Mass

So, maybe Massachusetts voters who wish to repeal the casino proposals are picking up steam.  It sure looks like the tide is turning, at least with one of the latest polls.

A week after Foxwoods expressed interest in building a casino in Fall River, a new poll by WBUR shows statewide support for casinos is shrinking . The Boston Globe reported that according to that recent poll, 43 percent of voters are in favor of repealing the casino law. Back in January only 39 percent of voters were in disapproval. The Western New England University Polling Institute last November showed voters statewide supported casinos by a 60-33 margin.

There has been plenty of local opposition to casinos. Voters in West Springfield, East Boston, Palmer and Milford shot down gambling resort proposals last year. But statewide support for casinos held strong through 2013.

The WBUR poll suggests that men are more in support than women. 49 percent of men are in favor of the casino law while only 44 percent of women are in support.

John J. Monahan from the TELEGRAM & GAZETTE, says a referendum to repeal the gambling law has gained the initial signatures to get on the ballot but Attorney General Martha Coakley has blocked it from proceeding any further. Supporters are asking the Supreme Judicial Court to overturn Coakley’s ruling. Mark Arseneault, of the Boston Globe, referred to Coakley’s comments, that “…the repeal would “impair the implied contracts between the Massachusetts Gaming Comminssion and gaming license applicants” and illegally “take” those contract rights without compensation, according to the decision issued last fall.”

John Ribero, chairman of Repeal the Casino Deal, said the group remains focused on the court arguments but said, “Our grassroots campaign to stop casinos and slot parlors marches on and gains momentum every day.”  The consistent reasons to repealing the law include the impact on poor people, the lowering of property values around, and gambling addiction.

The repeal effort has raised concerns within the casino industry. Several developers pursuing gambling projects in Massachusetts are collaborating on a legal effort to keep the repeal off the ballot. The fact that casino companies have spent millions on state application fees does not mean they have a right to open a gambling business in Massachusetts, casino opponents argued in a court brief filed Friday, part of a closely watched case that could put a repeal of the state casino law on the November ballot.

The question still remains – Will Massachusetts still have four gambling facilities in place by 2015? There still seems to be a small possibility of “no.”

That’s all for now.



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