The three-year old effort to bring Las Vegas-style gambling to Massachusetts was dealt a significant setback this week when the state’s highest court ruled that voters can decide in November if the casino law should be repealed. The unanimous decision by the State Supreme Judicial Court supporting an effort by anti-casino activists came less than two weeks after MGM was assigned a license to build an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with MGM Springfield president Mike Mathis about the status of the project and the plans t
Questions about ethics and possible conflicts of interest are clouding the effort to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts. There are calls for the chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to step down, and questions about the impartiality of a justice who will help decide if voters get a say on the fate of casinos.
The fate of casino gambling in Massachusetts may hinge on a case that was argued before the justices of the state’s highest court in Boston this morning.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard an hour of oral arguments Monday morning on whether a question should be allowed on the November ballot asking voters if the 2011 law that opened the state to Las Vegas-style gambling should be repealed.
After a two-year battle that left MGM Resorts International as the last competitor standing to build a resort casino in western Massachusetts, the entertainment giant now wants to delay the ultimate prize—a Massachusetts casino license. A leading anti-casino advocate says it’s a sign MGM is nervous about the prospect Massachusetts voters could repeal casino gambling in a statewide referendum.
The lengthy process to bring casino gambling to Massachusetts has entered a final phase. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will spend the next few months carefully evaluating projects before coming to a decision on issuing licenses. Supporters of the MGM casino project in Springfield are already anticipating a groundbreaking.
MGM Resorts International is the only applicant for the lone casino license in western Massachusetts, but Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby says the five-member commission is not obligated to award the license to MGM.
Casino gambling foes have gone to court in an effort to keep alive a proposed statewide ballot question that would repeal the 2011 state law that allows up to three casinos and one slots parlor in Massachusetts.
Attorney General Martha Coakley disqualified the ballot initiative last week, ruling that it could violate the state constitution by resulting in the uncompensated taking of property from casino developers.
The group "Repeal the Casino Deal" said it was seeking an injunction in Suffolk Superior Court to overturn Coakley's decision.