The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will not delay a decision on awarding the state’s most lucrative casino license until after the state’s voters weigh in on the fate of casino gambling. It means the locations of proposed casinos will likely be settled by the time voters go to the polls in November.
Massachusetts’ highest court ruled today that a question asking voters to repeal the state’s casino law can go on the November ballot. It sets up what promises to be a hard-fought campaign to decide the fate of the fledgling gambling industry in Massachusetts.
More than any other factor, votes in cities and towns in 2013 shaped the casino competition landscape for the burgeoning gaming industry in Massachusetts
In writing the Massachusetts gaming law in 2011 legislators and Governor Deval Patrick insisted that local control be paramount in determining where the state’s first casinos would be built. A successful outcome in a local referendum is a prerequisite for advancing in the state’s lengthy licensing process.
A coalition formed in response to a planned statewide referendum about whether to amend the New York constitution to authorize up to seven additional casinos held a press conference this morning at Capital Repertory in downtown Albany.
A veritable"who's who" of leaders of Capital Region arts non-profits gathered in a show of solidarity under the moniker "Upstate Theaters for a Fair Game." The group hopes to educate the public on what it sees as potential negative effects of casino expansion on what it refers to as "local entertainment ecosystems," noting that mid-sized arts and entertainment venues in neighboring states have been impacted by casino-based entertainment offerings.
The push for passage of a ballot amendment to allow up to seven new gambling casinos in New York has begun. A coalition of business leaders, labor unions, and local elected officials are holding press conferences across the state. They expect to run some TV ads, as well.
The focus of the casino competition in western Massachusetts is now squarely on Palmer. People on both sides of the casino issue in the rural town are gearing up for a referendum with an eye toward what happened with Hard Rock’s casino project last week in West Springfield.
The Town Council in Palmer, Massachusetts has endorsed a casino development agreement with Mohegan Sun. The Connecticut-based casino operator is proposing a $1 billion development in the rural town. It is one of three projects competing for the lone casino license available in western Massachusetts. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Town Councilor Paul Burns, who has been a long-time supporter of a casino project in Palmer.
This November, voters will get a chance to decide whether to expand gambling in upstate New York. But because of a quirk in the election calendar, it’s likely that downstate voters will be the ones to make that decision.
Some members of the faith-based community in western Massachusetts are starting to talk about ways to help people whom they believe will be harmed when a casino opens. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is on track to award a casino license to one of three competitors in the region by April 2014. A casino could open in 2016. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Bishop Douglas Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts.